KOTA KINABALU, September 24, 2017: SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee said Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation Senior Vice Chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye should not be shocked at all over the recent arrests of suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists working as security guards in the nation's capital.
"The reckless issuance of MyKads and dubious citizenship documents to foreigners without proper screening over the years explains why even suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists have managed to become security guards in Malaysia.
"Therefore, it is also possible that the seven suspected terrorists arrested by the counter-terrorism police is only a small part of the menace now facing the nation,' he said.
The former Chief Minister said it is generally known that tens of thousands of illegal immigrants in Sabah, once having obtained citizenship documents, had moved on to Peninsular Malaysia where they have assimilated into the general Malay populace as "Malays".
"This is the blow back to the failures of the Government to safeguard the integrity of citizenship documents."
He said the illegal immigrant crisis that Sabah has faced in the last four decades has now spread to the rest of the nation to the extent that suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists are employed as security guards over there.
"As a result, our neighbour, Sarawak, has become more vigorous in vetting some Sabahans entering Sarawak.
Yong said it is for this reason that Sabah must and should re-introduce its own Sabah identity Cards for genuine Malaysians in Sabah. And put in place the most vigorous scrutiny in processing and issuing identity cards.
"This is because the National Registration Department, the immigration, Department and law enforcement authorities have proven incapable of solving the illegal immigrant problem and the proliferation of dubious documents."
Meanwhile, the Immigration Department believes the seven Abu Sayyaf terrorists were suspected to have used the Labuan loophole to enter Kuala Lumpur by air.
Department Director Musa Sulaiman said it was unsure how these militants could have slipped into Kuala Lumpur, but suspected that they could have used Labuan.
"The suspects could have used Labuan as their exit point as there were previously no checks," he said.
It was reported that seven suspected militants were detained in Kuala Lumpur by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division on Sept 14.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the suspects had entered Malaysia through Sandakan before heading to Kuala Lumpur. The arrest was a follow-up operation after the detention of ASG operatives planning attacks on the National Day parade and SEA Games closing ceremony.
The seven have been in Kuala Lumpur since September 2015 and were working as security guards.
It was believed that they used forged documents to reach their destination.
Mohamad Fuzi said one of them, a 22-year-old man, had been in clashes with Philippine security forces and was also among those who carried out kidnappings.
The need to produce documents to enter Sabah from Kuala Lumpur via Labuan and vice versa was waived when Labuan was declared a Federal Territory in 1984.
It is believed that an untold number of foreigners, including from the Indian subcontinent used the loophole to enter Sabah, where they then tried to obtain Malaysia documents by hook or by crook.
Several National Registration Department personnel have been arrested for involvement in there syndicates.
When needing to leave the State these foreigners would travel to Menumbok and take a ferry to Labuan as travel within a Federal Territory is unrestricted.
Sarawak requires all passengers coming into the state, including Malaysians from other states, to fill up forms asking length of stay, purpose and place of stay, just like in foreign country.
They have to also produce the stamped boarding pass to the immigration staff when leaving the state. - DE