Claiming smear campaign, deputy home minister orders probe into Sabah citizenship claim

Julia Chan


Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman has ordered the police to probe a claim that a form to apply for citizenship was being distributed among illegal immigrants in Sabah. ― Bernama pic

KOTA KINABALU, Sept 4 ― Police have been told to investigate a smear campaign on social media claiming the Sabah government is “legalising” immigrants by granting them citizenship.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Aziz Jamman, who gave the order, said he hopes stern action will be taken against claiming the ruling Parti Warisan Sabah is distributing forms for illegal immigrants to get MyKads.

“There have been claims on the social media that I gave approval to collect information from illegal immigrants in order to issue them with identification cards.

“I have ordered the police to investigate this matter, and if we find out who is behind this, they will arrest them and take stern action,” the Warisan Youth chief told reporters after the Ops Mega operations here early this morning.

Azis dismissed the claims, saying that claims were bogus and a part of the Opposition rhetoric to smear and undermine the Warisan-led state government.

“It is known fact that the opposition attacks us this way. For example, they say Warisan is harbouring illegal immigrants in Sabah. These are all just accusations to smear our reputation,” he said.

“We are committed to resolving the illegal immigrant problem not only in the state but nationwide, and we are launching Ops Mega to tackle the problem,” he said.

Messages alleging that illegal immigrants in Sabah were being granted citizenship by way of being given MyKads, purportedly with the Parti Warisan Sabah's blessings, have been circulating on social media.

Fuelling the speculation have been suggestions that the numerous fires in squatter colonies were an intentional exercise so that squatters could claim that their documents were destroyed in the fire and they could apply for new documents.

Earlier, Azis had followed state Immigration Department officers during an operation on two illegal squatter settlements, including one in Sepanggar, his own parliamentary constituency.

“We are acting against all illegal immigrants. We are serious and we want to resolve the problem even in my constituency. If they enter the country illegally, we will arrest them all and deport them,” he said.

Aziz said that they were not able to estimate the number of illegal immigrants in the state as the numbers are fluid, owing to the many illegal routes over land and sea between Sabah and the Philippines.

Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said a total of 58 Filipinos were detained during the four-hour operation for not possessing any valid documents.

In a nationwide exercise, some 10,000 illegal immigrants have arrested so far and 1,000 employers have been hauled up for harbouring and hiring illegals.

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