The subject of illegal immigrants (PTIs) in Sabah has been a hot topic in the media lately. Everyone had their say so now it is my turn.
I believe if one is in this country illegally, one should either leave or get deported when caught. Logic tells you that it is true. If I enter your house and you do not know me, you will chase me off or even call the cops. If I were to squat on your land without your permission, you will charge me for trespassing. So why is it okay if PTIs come in to Sabah and refuse to leave?
The situation in our state is reaching a very serious situation right now. All that has been done to encourage the influx of PTIs in the 80s and 90s are now chickens coming home to roost. Whatever agenda some people had that resulted in this has been talked to death, but now it is time to decide what we are going to do about it.
Of course the obvious solution is deportation. Flush them out and deport. But this easier said than done. The political will is simply not there. All the promises are designed to buy time, hoping we will cool down if this is dragged long enough.
The other reason probably is this : The powers that be finally realize that this problem has grown into a Godzila-size monster. How do you catch and deport a million PTIs without any problems? How can they ensure that nothing untoward will happen?
But it has to be done, like it or not. Bite the bullet, as they say.
My wife is a foreigner. Her stay here is sponsored by me on a spouse visa, renewable yearly. When she first arrived, the number of hoops we were made to jump through by the immigration authorities were depressing. This form, that form, wedding photos, more forms, monetary deposits (which I can get back the day I divorce her. Hah!) etc. Worse, the danger of forgetting to renew her visa yearly. In 2001 when my son was born, I forgot to renew her visa by just 3 days and I was compounded RM3000 (US$900). No appeal allowed. She is in this country for at least 10 years legally and yet she still hasn't got her PR.
Yet, some people from a neighboring country can sneak in, get a job, earn a salary, maybe even buy a fake or given genuine identity card, utilize hospital and educational facilities that my tax money is paying for and now some of the powers that be expect me to pity them?
There were statements from some NGOs that we should not deport those PTIs who are in this state for a long time because it is inhumane. When my wife got compounded RM3000 when I could not afford it just because she missed her visa renewal by 3 days did anyone say it is inhumane? When we were kicked from one corner of the immigration department to another corner did anyone say it is inhumane? When these PTIs came to my house and stole our stuffs did anyone say it is inhumane to us?
Nowadays I often shudder to think when I die and go to that big burrow in the sky, what kind of future my children has in this state? If things do not change I doubt they have much of a future. That's the scary part.
So to all those do-gooders I have this to tell you all :
If you think catching and deporting PTIs is inhumane, perhaps we should send them to live with you in your part of Malaysia. Especially those who are jobless, has no sense of hygiene, commit crimes and yell in your face that they own this country. Then you tell me how it feels.
If you think those stateless children left behind by their deported parents are pitiful and deserved to be made Malaysian citizens, then why don't you adopt a few? Wait until the day they steal everything from your house or they slit your throat in your sleep then you tell me if they are pitiful.
If you think those who have stayed here illegally long enough should be made permanent residents, then perhaps they should move into your neighborhood. You are telling us that as long as they hide long enough and don't get caught, it is okay? In developed countries even if you hide for 30 years and got caught, you still get deported.
One day, one of them, especially those who allegedly given genuine identity cards for whatever reasons best known to the powers that be, will ascend to political circles of this country. They may become town councilors, state assemblymen, member of parliament, ministers, chief minister, maybe even prime minister. Far fetched? What's so far fetched about that? He has a genuine identity card thus a citizen despite being a foreigner. This identity card is his license to go anywhere, do anything legal, buy property, spend your tax money, run for political office and maybe even marry your daughter. Now suddenly that's not so far fetched now is it?
I have news for you. Since genuine identity cards were allegedly given out to these PTIs in the 80s and 90s, I bet many of them are already in West Malaysia, doing perfectly legal things. It is now 2008. Where are they? Who are they? Nobody knows. No one will ever know as long as the powers that be refuse to deal with this problem. You still think it is a Sabah problem, when in fact they are already amongst you all.
Think about it. Before it is too late.