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KUALA LUMPUR: The government has agreed to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate problems related to illegal immigrants in Sabah, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today.
He said the government was committed to resolving the issue as it could affect the well-being of the people of Sabah.
"It is hoped that the people of Sabah will take advantage of this RCI and together with the Government find the strategies and best approaches to tackle the problems concerned," he said in a statement here.
Najib said the decision was made after taking into condideration the views from all quarters.
"The Attorney-General's Chambers has been entrusted with the responsibility to come up with the Terms of Reference (TOR) and the initial draft has been prepared.
"To ensure the RCI functions smoothly, I have asked the AG's Chambers to get views and feedback from all quarters on the draft before the TOR is finalised," he said.
The Prime Minister said the setting up of the RCI was a manifestation of the determination of the governnmnet in upholding the constitution and the rule of law.
It is reported that the number of illegal immigrants in Sabah is estimated to be above 500,000 people.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the setting up of the RCI was seen as value added to the efforts undertaken by his ministry in tackling the problem of illegal immigrants.
He said it added value to the efforts of the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers and Illegal Immigrants, the National Laboratory on Foreign Nationals and the Special Laboratory on Foreigners in Sabah.
"The Home Ministry welcomes the announcement by the Prime Minister on the setting up of the RCI.
"The setting up of this RCI shows the concern and commitment of the government for the people," he said in a statement.
He added that the setting up of the RCI would further help the process of transformation taking place in the country at all levels including the nine agencies under the Home Ministry.
"Our hope (at the ministry) is that the ministry can be strengthened further to provide the best service for the people besides looking after national security," he said.