Ongkili posed for the camera with Immigration Department officials in Labuan after a meeting in Labuan today.
LABUAN: Loopholes allowing free flow of passengers entering Sabah via Labuan will soon be a problem of the past, thanks to an effort by the Immigration Department of both areas.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said this after a meeting between him and senior officers from the Immigration Department, here, today.
He said the Immigration Department of Sabah and Labuan had assured him that they are prepared to take necessary actions to enforce laws and regulations to protect Sabah’s Immigration rights if the State Government claims its full rights and authority under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“We have observed that there are immigration loopholes between Labuan and the entry points00 to Sabah through the Menumbok and Jesselton Point ferry terminals, where no immigration officials are placed in these locations.
Ongkili chairing the meeting with Immigration Department officials in Labuan today.
“The Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Division (BHESS) has raised this issue for fear that people with bad intentions are using these loopholes to go scout free, entering and leaving Sabah without proper records and documentation,” stressed Ongkili.
He noted that the Sabah’s Immigration rights have been diluted with the federalisation of Labuan by the then Berjaya Government in 1984, and subsequent Immigration regulations for free flow of traffic between Peninsular and Sabah, through Labuan as a Federal Territory.
“However, during the meeting, the Immigration Department said they are prepared to study and act on the decision by d Sabah Government on the matter,” he said.
Ongkili said the Special Council on MA63 (MKMA63), which is headed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will facilitate decision-making if the Sabah Government brings up the matter at its upcoming meeting scheduled next month.
In the case of the Sarawak Immigration right, it is one of four MA63 rights declared as non-negotiable and the State has its ultimate power and control.
Among those present were Sabah Immigration Department Director, Sh Sitti Saleha Habib Yussof, acting Labuan Immigration Department Director, Norlela Jumat and the Special Task Officer to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs), Philip Yaditing.