Ongkili interacting with the dialogue participants
LABUAN: Federalisation and relaxation of immigration conditions of entry into Sabah, especially through sea vessels at the Menumbok Port, has resulted in Sabah’s loss of control of its immigration rights.
“There is no immigration control or checks on passengers, in arriving ferry and sea vessels at Menumbok, or at the Kota Kinabalu ferry terminal, which are the entry points into Sabah from the Labuan Federal Territory island.
“This is a serious loophole. Foreigners, wanted criminals and undesirable elements are known to have used this route to escape law,” said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs), Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, here, today.
He said this during a dialogue with the Labuan Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (Labuan KDCA) and Sabahan residents on the island on whether the Menumbok loophole was an infringement of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) immigration right.
Non-Sabahans, he said, are also abusing the loophole for overstaying in Sabah or illegally working in the state, which contravene with the Immigration laws and the MA63 conditions.
This has led to unfettered entry of undesirable elements and unqualified entrants.
“Dialogue participants argued that the Sabah Government should take necessary steps to tighten the law or close the loophole to be in accordance with the immigration law, and at the same time restore the MA63 rights,” he said.
Ongkili, who is on a three-day official visit here since yesterday, had a meeting with the Labuan Corporation and Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines – East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) earlier today.