Stop renewing IMM13 documents, says Upko

By Dominic Legeh, Free Malaysia Today

PENAMPANG: A Sabah Barisan Nasional coalition partner has demanded a halt to the renewal of refugee status (IMM13) documents for Filipino and Indonesian refugees in the state.

The United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) has also called for the setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe the so-called “Project IC” that led to citizenship status for migrants and illegal immigrants.

The motions were brought up by the party’s nationality and security bureau and were among those unanimously endorsed during its national convention 2010 held at the Sabah Cultural Centre here yesterday.

Upko information chief, Donald Mojuntin, who is also the bureau’s chairman, said the government has continued renewing the IMM13 documents for these refugees in Sabah for over 30 years and should not do so for ever.

There must be an end to it as it concerned human rights, including those of Malaysian citizens in Sabah and also has an effect on Malaysia’s sovereignty, he said.

The IMM13 documents are issued to Filipinos who were in Sabah during and after the 1970s, while the Indonesian refugees are those in Sabah during or after the Malaysia-Indonesia confrontation in the 1960s.

Upko wants the federal government to either take them to work in factories or plantations in the Peninsula or discuss with Indonesia and the Philippine governments the process of sending them home.

If it is to be the former, the federal government must ensure that their would-be employers assist them and all of their family members in terms of logistics support particularly transport from Sabah to the Peninsula; accommodation and ensuring that their children are sent to the nearest government school.

Manpower shortage

Mojuntin said that it would help resolve the manpower shortage faced by the industries in the Peninsula and at the same time solve the massive presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah.

Upko wants the resettlement schemes where the refugees currently stay in Kinarut, Pulau Gaya, Boronuon, Telipok, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Labuan be developed for the benefit of local people.