KOTA KINABALU: The Home Ministry and Immigration Department will be responsible for managing the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS), while the state government will keep a close watch on it.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the proposed initiative is a longstanding issue since the report by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (on immigrants in Sabah), but nothing was being done.

“At least for the first time we are trying to do something, to solve.

“PSS is going to replace IMM13, Burung-Burung cards and Census cards to ensure we can monitor them, because people can just forge that, they can photocopy, so it is difficult for us to monitor.

“With the temporary pass, they are able to be here be it working in plantations or elsewhere and we can monitor them closely,” he said.

Last week, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had announced the introduction of PSS.

It has raised mixed reactions among the people in the state, including leaders.

Star Sabah has expressed strong feelings over the proposal, claiming that it has reportedly triggered alarm bells among the people of Sabah.

Its president, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, said that instead of offering a sense of relief or giving answers, the proposal has raised more questions.

“How will the exercise actually solve the decades old problem of PTIs (illegal immigrants) in Sabah?” he asked.

Shafie when talking to reporters in a press conference at the PPNS building yesterday said there is a need to regulate immigrants to monitor the workforce in Sabah, especially with the recent news of East Kalimantan to be the new capital for Indonesia.

“With the capital city coming up in Kalimantan, the region will develop very fast.

“I hope Indonesian workers in plantations will go back to their hometowns, because the moment they go we won’t have enough labour and plantations will be badly affected.

“So we need to manage this situation carefully, otherwise the plantation will be dead,” he explained.

Meanwhile, when asked about the recent statement by Philippine Foreign Affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr reaffirming the Philippines’ claim on Sabah, he said, “the whole world knows Sabah is part of Malaysia.”

“There was a Cobbold Commission in 1962 before we formed Malaysia. It is clear that it was a legal decision.

“Even in the Ligitan and Sipadan dispute, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided that both of the islands belonged to Malaysia,” he added.