PUTRAJAYA: A special team will be set up to investigate syndicates issuing false identity cards in Sabah.
This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman in a joint statement in conjunction with the meeting of the steering committee on the Management of Foreign Nationals in Sabah (JKPWAS-Induk), held in Putrajaya today.
The statement said that the government viewed seriously cases of false identity cards being issued and distributed by certain syndicates.
In order to intensify enforcement, the government via the Committee on the Management of Foreign Nationals in Sabah (JKPWAS) decided on the formation of a special team to investigate the matter in detail, especially recent cases in Sandakan and Tawau.
“A more comprehensive investigation must be initiated until the individuals acting as the real masterminds can be identified and legal action taken,” the statement said.
It said although the documents issued were illegal and would not exist in the national registration system, a more aggressive action must still be initiated.
“It not only involves cheating to the recipients but also affected the government’s image,” the statement said.
It added that the government was also focusing on the entry of illegal immigrants, especially in the state’s waters.
Given security and public interest factors, it said the government had intensified patrols at Sabah’s entry points.
According to the statement, the immigration department was also taking biometric information on every foreigner entering and leaving the state, and had installed image recognition systems at all entry points.
The statement said that based on National Security Council records in Sabah, the total number of illegal immigrants expelled from the state from 1990 until March 3 this year was 553,692.
For 2017 alone, 1,120 illegal immigrants had been expelled as of March 3.
The statement also said the government had decided that trans-shipment activities be resumed effective Feb 1 to boost economic activities in Sabah.
“It involved normal trade activities, namely the import and export of goods only, and excluded the petroleum trade,” it said.
However, the statement added that the government still maintained the ban on barter trade activities.