Tawau Passenger Ferry Consortium has given assurance that they have sufficient number of ferries to send thousands of
illegal immigrants in Tawau back to their respective countries, especially Indonesia.
Its chairman, Mohd Sharif Nanang, said right now, eight passenger ferries, each with 100-passenger capacity, were making one trip between Tawau and Nunukan, Indonesia, on a daily basis.
“Should the need arise, each ferry can repeat the trip up to three times daily. Besides, the trip from Tawau to Nunukan takes only one hour, he told reporters today.
He was responding to questions on the consortium’s preparation to face the possibility that thousands of illegal immigrants, especially from Indonesia, would take the opportunity of the ongoing 5P programme to return home.
The 5P programme, implemented by the state government to resolve the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah, comprised registration, amnesty, supervision, enforcement and deportation. The registration process, however, will end on Aug 1.
After that, all registered illegal immigrants would be given two-month amnesty period to return to their respective countries voluntarily.
Mohd Sharif said the consortium had also received ticket bookings from illegal immigrants who had registered to return home.
“The consortium will also convene a meeting to discuss the possibility to give a special fare for the illegal immigrants during the two-month amnesty period,” he said.