If it has been easy to resolve, Sabah’s illegal immigrant problems would have been resolved by now.

If the political will has been strong to resolve the issue, we won’t be cancered by the problem.

But what was once an easy problem to tackle, has become so difficult to overcome because of a number of reasons. Here are the 12 reasons for the worsening illegal immigrants problem in Sabah:

#01. The tidak apa attitude among the powers-that-be in the past to resolve the problem;

#02. We — the people of Sabah and the authorities — allowed the problem to take root in our beloved state;

#03. Some quarters did benefit from the presence of illegal immigrants and had tried all they could to perpetuate the problem;

#04. The failure of our neighbour to develop their own backyard. Imagine if the southern areas of our neighbour were more developed, it would be us who would be coming to their country;

#05. Sabah is still claimed as part of the Philippines — a claim which is no longer valid, legally or morally.

#06. A large number of immigrants, who used to be illegals, managed to obtain citizenship either through merit or chicanery. This, in turn, encouraged their brethren to come to Sabah in droves and boatloads;

#07: There is a genuine lack of capacity on the part of the authorities to deal with the problem;

#08: Corruption, deception, treachery…

#09: Did someone say the illegal immigrants were given genuine IC on purpose so that they could return the favour in certain ways determined by the giver?

#10: Their numbers have grown so drastically that it seems it is no longer wrong to become illegals in Sabah. It has become a norm, a natural thing, due to a prolonged state of ignorance.

#11: The deterrent measures put in place are just like putting scarecrows in vast padi fields. I ain’t afraid of those, says the crow.

#12: Etcetra… I can think of a dozen other reasons but what’s the point? What’s the point if nothing is done to resolve the issue.

In the meantime, here’s a latest report on the issue, from a foreign media’s point of view. From The Associated Press via The IHT:

Malaysia threatens mass expulsion of illegal immigrants amid political dispute
The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysia’s government announced plans Wednesday to chase out tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, mainly Filipinos and Indonesians, who have become a major political irritant on Borneo island.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said authorities will soon launch a massive operation to flush out foreigners without travel or identification documents from eastern Sabah state, which borders both the Philippines and Indonesia.

“We will deport them to the country that is willing to accept them,” Najib was quoted as saying by the national news agency, Bernama. He said immigrants who have lived unlawfully in Sabah since the 1970s would not be spared.

His aides could not immediately be reached for further details.

Authorities recently estimated there are some 130,000 illegal immigrants in Sabah. But the state’s politicians insist the real figure is several times that, and claim that foreigners outnumber Malaysians in some provinces.

The issue has long been a bitter grievance for Sabah politicians, who accuse the federal government of failing to oust job-seeking foreigners after their permits expire.

Top government leaders have stepped up efforts to resolve the problem amid speculation that many Sabah lawmakers planned to defect to the opposition because of dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration.

Although Sabah has vast natural resources, such as timber, it is one of Malaysia’s poorest states. Some residents blame this on large numbers of migrants whose presence means fewer available jobs.

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