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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Temporary work pass proposal only for peninsula, not Sabah, says Jeffrey

 

The government has suggested giving temporary permits to undocumented migrants to get them to work in oil palm and rubber estates facing a shortage of workers.

KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minister Jeffrey Kitingan has slammed a post by a blog here that insinuated the federal government is about to grant a special pass for illegal immigrants in Sabah.

Jeffrey, who is STAR president, said the post in the blog which had been making the rounds on social media, is misleading and malicious.

The same blog also used a picture of him and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as its featured image although the picture had nothing to do with the post.

“The prime minister was only referring to the situation in the peninsula. The temporary pass is nothing like the Sabah temporary pass (or PSS) which Warisan had stubbornly and arrogantly defended earlier this year,” he said in a statement here late last night.

Jeffrey Kitingan.

He said the proposal mooted by Muhyiddin was to give a temporary pass to stranded undocumented migrants who are already in Malaysia to work in oil palm and rubber plantations.

He added this allowed them to work for a year or two before they are replaced by legal workers.

Muhyiddin yesterday said Putrajaya was considering issuing temporary work passes to undocumented migrants, most of whom were Bangladeshis and Indonesians, who are already in the country to address the shortage of foreign workers at this time.

Muhyiddin said he was aware that the oil palm and rubber sectors had been facing a severe shortage of manpower.

He added that he had directed the home affairs and energy and natural resources ministries to study how to implement this without causing issues in the future.

Jeffrey said Sabah had its own policies on labour and immigration which the federal government cannot, constitutionally, interfere in.

He said in Sabah, the situation is different because as it is, the rate of unemployment is already high and giving special working passes to illegal immigrants is akin to robbing genuine Sabahans of their job opportunities.

“The new Sabah government cannot afford to repeat Warisan’s mistakes.

“Sabahans have made their voices loud and clear they would not tolerate such nonsense,” he said, advising the opposition to find a better use of their time and to heed the advice by the King to stop playing politics. - FMT

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