KUALA LUMPUR: Economical factors are one of the main contributing reasons for the increase in the number of illegal immigrants in Sabah.
According to the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah which was released today, the huge influx of illegal immigrants to the state from 1978 onwards ,were caused by stark economic disparaties between Southern Phillipines, Indonesia and Sabah.
" The dire economic scenario around that time in the affected part of the Phillipines and Indonesia provided the push factor for people to migrate to Sabah.
"The state was expanding, there were ample job opportunities in most sectors and it was politically stable and progressive and of these, assets and attributes are still there," the report states.
Another push factor is related to the alleged territorial claim to Sabah by the Phillipines government.
" There is some evidence that many Filipinos still preceive Sabah to be part and parcel of the Phillipines.
" There has been no clear official policy on abandoning such a claim due to the frequent changes in government," the report states.
This was reflected with the recent intrusion into Tanduo by ethnic groups associated with the defunct Sulu Sultanate.
These groups feel that they can enter Sabah as it is their historical privilege or rights.