(5 February 2002)

Kota Kinabalu: Gaya MP Datuk Yong Teck Lee hoped that the Philippines government could consider the seriousness of the illegal immigrants problem involving its nationals.

"The proposal which I have made earlier is for the Zamboanga-Sandakan ferry services to be suspended until such time that the Philippines Government shows sincerity in accepting the return of their citizens who have entered Malaysia illegally," he said.

Yong, who is Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, said this in response to a recent statement by the Philippines Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, who assured that he would be sending a report to Manila in order to expedite deportation of Filipino illegal immigrants from Sabah.

"At least, we now see some sense of urgency on the part of the Philippines government, but this needs to be monitored," he said.

According to him, the ferry services were meant to increase trade and to provide a safer, documented travelling between Sabah and the southern Philippines.

It was also effectively used as a means of deportation of illegals all the way to Zamboanga port, he said.

"This is preferable if compared to the past when smaller boats were used to deport illegals who, in turn, could get off their boats at any island across the Philippine border without successfully taking them back all the way to the Zamboanga port," he said.

Yong regretted that the situation had now changed when the Philippines refused to accept the return of their own citizens and this had warranted a review of the present ferry services.


Datuk Yong Teck Lee
Member of Parliament for P150 Gaya / State Assemblyman for N13 Likas






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