Home Minister: Foreigner cards may solve undocumented migrants issue in Sabah, but needs state govt’s nod

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Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, who had proposed the foreigner cards solution, emphasised that the card was not aimed at permanent residency or citizenship.  ― Picture by Farhan Najib
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, who had proposed the foreigner cards solution, emphasised that the card was not aimed at permanent residency or citizenship. ― Picture by Farhan Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said Sabah’s undocumented migrant issue could be solved by issuing foreigner cards, but it requires approval from the state government.

During the launch of an event in conjunction with the Kaamatan Festival celebration in Sabah yesterday, Hamzah was quoted by The Star claiming the issue of undocumented migrants was a “time bomb” that could trigger more social problems.

“There are many parents and children born without documents but living in Sabah for a long time.

“We don’t want social problems to gain a foothold in Sabah due to this,” Hamzah reportedly said, but did not justify his allegation.

Hamzah, who had proposed the foreigner cards solution, emphasised that the card was not aimed at permanent residency or citizenship.

However, the Sabah government had rejected his proposal earlier this year due to political and societal resistance.

The home minister added that the foreigner’s card would also help in overcoming manpower crisis that is happening in various industries and allow for enforcement agencies to weed out criminal elements among undocumented migrants.

In April this year, the Sabah chapter of Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said it received multiple reports of “foreigner identity card” scams, where scammers tried to take advantage of foreigners by offering them fake identity or data cards at the price between RM400 to RM2,500.

Undocumented migrants were told by the scammers that these “humanitarian cards” or “temporary registration cards” were part of a government registration system.

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