Sabah Temporary Pass – A Trojan Horse in the making

The PH Federal Government and the Warisan State Government recently announced that the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) with biometric features will be issued to an estimated, yet staggering 600,000 foreigners living in Sabah. This is supposedly meant to better regulate and monitor the State’s illegal immigrants.

The PSS is set to replace the official and legally recognised IMM13 (Immigration pass) issued to Filipino refugees who fled to Sabah in the 1970s, as well as (and more concerningly) the ‘kad Burung-Burung’ (issued by the state in the 1980s) and the card issued under the Federal Special Task Force Banci (Census) in the 1990s, the latter two both nugatory in the eyes of the law, being unofficial immigration documents, and outside the purview of the Federal Constitution. (Point to note – since ONLY the Federal Government has the power to issue a pass or a permit to remain in the country legally.)

Approaching year 2020, this Warisan State Government is now looking to eclipse all the past ‘non-legal documentation’ and legalise them with a stroke of the pen via PSS Card.

It is vital to understand this, ‘to make legal what’s illegal’ in the context of law via the PSS Card. It must be re-itinerated that the earlier mentioned Kad Burung Burung and the Sijil Banci never accord them any real legal status as the IMM13 did. These cards (Kad Burung Burung and the Sijil Banci) were issued by the State merely as a ‘notification that they have been registered or recorded’ for the purpose strictly of a survey or a census only. It was just a ‘receipt’ to say that they have been identified. This is strictly a census and not a legal document or accordance of legal status by authority or from the immigration department.

(Please refer to an Excerpt from RCI report 2013 reported in – (

——-“Testifying at the public hearing here, Monday, former head of the Settlement Unit in the Chief Minister’s Department, Abd Jaapar Alip, said a study on the transient population in Sabah was conducted in 1987 that also involved registration of foreigners.
It was done in two phases with the first being a census conducted in collaboration with the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) by going to houses where suspected illegal immigrants were staying.
The second phase was to register them for the issuance of the Temporary Registration Card.According to him, those registered in the census would be asked to fill up a form after which they would be given the Temporary Identification Receipt”———

And the most aberrant of it all is that one fathom how and why these ‘receipt’ cards came to become a valid identification document allowing them safe passage to stay in the state indefinitely. They (those with such cards – burung2 / bancian) should by right, be arrested, detained and be deported when stopped by the police as these documents are not valid anyway. These are not passes nor permits to allow them to stay within the country indefinitely.

Yes, these cards were just mere ‘receipts’ to note that they have had registered with the authorities for the purpose of the survey and furthermore, no legal document from the Immigration Department was issued nor given. Again let’s be reminded that only the federal government via the Immigration department has the power to issue a pass or permit to stay in the country. The state has no such power or authority under our federal constitution. So state documents issued by the state government is not legally binding in this case.

(Unlike the IMM13 card which is valid since it was issued with authority, unlike the state’s ultra vires act.)

Every Sabahan must stand up against the very implications to the attempted blanket replacement of all these three non-binding documents into one PSS Card. Essentially what the state government is doing is ‘legalising the illegals’, thus legalising their non-legal status in Sabah and rendering them the same status which was limited to IMM13 holders in the past.

The Warisan Government have recently attempted to justify the issuance of the PSS card as a means of preventing the falsification of documents. This is so lame .

I’m sorry, but the last thing any Sabahan want to do is giving legal standing to the many illegal immigrants in Sabah. These illegals could also be in possession of a falsified documents. One wonders whether this Warisan government decision has taken into consideration the Sabahans sentiment ?

Is the Warisan state government expecting Sabahans to swallow the oxymoron ironic rationale in this whole PSS card justification ?

The state government is trying too hard to defend this move when insisting that this would make regulating or monitoring the foreigners easier.

Well, foreigners with the legal IMM13 by the immigration would mean their existence and whereabouts are recorded in ‘the system’ and can be monitored. And it also begs the question, why these IMM13 refugees and other illegal foreigners with their unrecognized documents in the eyes of the law are not sent back to their country of origin. The war is after all long over and the Philippine government has also announced that they have no issues welcoming them back.

So why exactly is our state government not repatriating these refugees and illegal foreigners back to their own country but instead has resolved to handing out an officious legitimate immigration pass that is renewable every 3 years to them? I find it rather paradoxical that Malaysians from the Peninsular are only eligible for a 90 days visitors pass or at best a one year work pass to stay in Sabah but these ‘Warisan legalised’ illegal immigrants are allowed to have a renewable three years pass instead?

Why such privileges to non-Malaysians compared to our very own legitimate fellow Malaysians?

Warisan leaders have also justified the issuance of the PSS card to avoid over-crowding the ‘Rumah Merah’ while waiting for their country of origin to accept them back.

——Quoting one of the leaders;
“It has to be dealt with humanely – does Johnity, Joniston, Jeffrey and others – want to put the 600,000 people in ‘Rumah Merah’ and wait for their countries of origin to accept.”
“Imagine the cost that will be incurred and the logistics,” said Fred, who added that previous Sabah governments as well as the critics could only talk of the problem, but failed to lift a finger to attend to the matter.”

I am utterly astounded that our security and sovereignty can be reduced to just mere dollar sense. The sovereignty and security of the state is not to be compromised in anyway and especially so by a one-term Warisan government who have not proven their worth of salt .

Is Warisan leaders saying that just because they want to save a few ringgit and cents as well as to avoid the hassle of improving the conditions of the ‘Rumah Merah’ to serve the potential huge capacity of these illegal foreigners – they are willing and choosing to instead overlook the rule of law that these foreigners are flouting the laws of the country and are now over-staying illegally. These foreigners have trespassed the law of the land and should be arrested and deported back to their country of origin. Instead our Warisan leaders are now copping out by issuing them a legitimate pass to continue to stay on and to do so from then on without any fear of legal persecution.

—-Quoting these state leaders again..
“The PSS is not about giving citizenship but handling the issue pragmatically and humanely in accordance to the laws of the country.”
So they are trying to convince Sabahans that the issuance of this PSS card is in accordance with the laws of the country? Are they assuming that we are stupid ? Now please enlighten us law-abiding citizens, just how many laws of the country have been broken, disregarded and ignored with the issuance of this PSS card to these law dissident foreigners?

While this State Government is bending over backwards to recognise these illegals and Warisan leaders vehemently denying that this is not about issuing citizenship to these foreigners but the truth is in the pudding . Yes, indeed this 1st generation who are bestowed the PSS card would not be granted citizenship. But what about their children, and their children’s children?

Did our state government stopped long enough to consider that with this get out of ‘Rumah Merah’ PSS pass, these illegal immigrants can now stay on (indefinitely it seems) setting up home with no fear of being caught up by the police or immigration officers. They can and will settle down, marry and have children born of local Sabahans. These children of theirs will be absorbed and assimilated into our society and by process of law are entitled to be made a citizen. With time, these children will grow up with no whatsoever attachments to the country of origins of their parents and that they would look at Sabah as their only home, undoubtedly and through no fault of theirs. And when that time comes for us to judge and decide whether these Sabah/Malaysian borne children of these used to be illegal PSS holders are to be one of us, who are we to deny out of moral grounds their right to Sabah as their home?

Like my dear grandfather and many others too, who was a Chinese migrant, a pendatang from China back in the 1940s, (was granted citizenship legally I may add!). I am a second-generation Malaysian born Chinese, born and raised in Sabah, and based on these grounds and when faced with racial slurs from bigots asking me to ‘balik thong shan’, I can argue and claim that I am every bit and every right a Malaysian as the next Malay or ‘son’s of the soil’. Who is to argue that we are not?

And in this same manner, these pendatang tanpa izin today, in 2 generations to come, when their children and their children’s children who are born here in Sabah-Tanah Airku would then also be considered Sabahan Malaysians. Thus borne the new Bangsa Kad PSS, consummating the reconstruction of Sabah’s socio-demographic and political composition and, therefore setting upon us the greatest Trojan Horse ever to penetrate Sabahan shores.

MCA Sabah
Wanita Chairman

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