Panel to be formed to tackle issues related to foreigners in Sabah

Panel to be formed to tackle issues related to foreigners in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU - A permanent secretariat focusing on issues related to foreigners in Sabah will be set up in line with the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry. It will be supported by a management committee.

The Secretariat will be jointly chaired by Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

"It will report directly to the Cabinet," Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa said yesterday.

Its terms of reference and membership would be decided soon, he told a news conference when releasing the RCI report here.

Ali said the management committee would be headed by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

"The committee will look into the various issues raised in the report apart from getting feedback - complaints and views of Malaysians in Sabah - which will be forwarded to the secretariat," he added.

Ali stressed the Government's commitment to resolving the Sabah immigrant population problem "in a holistic and continuous way".

The RCI had recommended the setting up of the secretariat and a management commmittee.

"If the concept of this management committee is not acceptable to the Government then, perhaps, a consultative council on immigrants and foreigners, headed by an independent professional of the highest integrity, could be established," the report said.

The council should be conferred with extensive powers to study the illegal immigrant problem.

The report noted that the RCI was bound by the terms of reference.

"We can only inquire, make findings and, thereafter, present recommendations to the relevant authorities.

"The power to translate the recommendations into action lies with them," the RCI said.

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