‘Entering Sabah was easy’

NO TROUBLE: Panel told how foreigners entered state without travel documents.

KOTA KINABALU: ENTERING  Sabah without  the necessary travel documents has been a breeze for many foreigners from neighbouring countries, the Royal Commission of Inquiry was told yesterday.

Six witnesses who took the stand yesterday described how they illegally reached the shores of the state, either from the Philippines or Indonesia, without encountering any resistance.

Filipino Degon Alay, who came to Sabah in 2002 aged 13, said he took a boat, along with an uncle and a group of about 50 people and landed at Pulau Berhala, Sandakan after a 14-hour boat ride from Bongao in Tawi-Tawi, southern Philippines.

He told the inquiry that he had then taken a speedboat with a group of about 20 from Pulau Berhala and recalled landing at the Sandakan wet market at 8am the next day.

“We did not encounter a single Malaysian enforcement officer along the way,” he said.

Degon went on to reveal that he lived in Sandakan for 10 years before he was arrested on Nov 11 last year for possession of syabu.

He had worked as a bus conductor and lived with an aunt in Batu Sapi before his arrest.

Indonesian Nisah Rahman, 31, from Bone, Sulawesi, told the panel that she had entered Tawau by boat with 10 passengers from Nunukan in October, 2011.

She told the panel that they were asked to swim to shore after reaching Tawau waters and were taken to Sandakan by a man whom she identified as Irwan, where she worked in an oil palm estate.

by Avila Geraldine.

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