Member of Parliament for Tuaran in Sabah Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said there are at least 60,000 immigrants in Sabah who are recognised as refugees by virtue that they are holders of the IMM13 documents.
Madius, who is also UPKO's Secretary General, said since Malaysia had frozen the import of foreign workers, the Government could used these refugees to solve the shortage of manpowers in the manufacturing and plantation sectors in Peninsula (West) Malaysia.
He said these refugees had been living in Sabah (one of the two States in East Malaysia, the other being Sarawak)for more then 30 years.
He said by recruiting the refugees from Sabah, there would be no longer any need to import more workers from Bangladesh and Myanmar.
"No need for the Bangladeshis, no need for the Myanmar's. Just take the IMM13 document holders from Sabah. If want to give them Permanent Resident (PR) status in West Malaysia, just give them," he said.
Madius was obviously referring to a statement by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz in June this year who said that the Federal Government will give PR status to the IMM13 holders in Sabah without discussing the matter with the State Government. Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman rejected the proposal.
I take my hat off for Madius on this issue. Allowing immigrants to be given PR will make them enjoy the same rights as the citizens of the country. In the long run, I personally fear that people like me, my native community, will become immigrants in our own home State.