Covid-19: Sabah imposes strict conditions before allowing entry into state

Sabah and Kedah states have seen a surge in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks. PHOTO: REUTERS

KOTA KINABALU - Hit hard by coronavirus infections, Malaysia's Sabah state on Sunday (Oct 4) imposed strict conditions before allowing those outside from entering.

The Sabah Immigration Department said non-Sabahans, including foreign nationals, who work in essential services, must have valid immigration passes that it had issued before entering Malaysia's second biggest state by land size.

Others must first obtain special permits prior to entering the state.

"This regulation will be in effect until Oct 16," said the department. "Malaysian permanent residents are also required to obtain the special permit before entering the state."

The immigration departments of Sabah and Sarawak are the only two of Malaysia's 13 states allowed to autonomously control border issues.

Sabah shares its land border with Malaysia's Sarawak state and Indonesia's North Kalimantan province, and also shares a long sea border with the southern Philippines.

Sabah and Kedah states have seen a surge in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks.

In Sabah's case, this was worsened by two weeks of political campaigning before the Sept 26 state polls.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Saturday said the surge in Sabah was caused by the number of illegal migrants entering the state unauthorised.

Most of those found positive with Covid-19 were from the detention centres for illegal migrants and prison staff.

The federal government has imposed a ban on inter-district travel for two weeks among Sabah's 27 districts from Saturday. Generally, only those working in essential services such as medicine, security and food supplies are allowed to travel between districts.

Malaysia on Saturday announced daily new infections of 317, a record high for the second consecutive day. The country recorded 287 daily infections on Friday.

The Sabah immigration department said on Sunday that Sabahans who wanted to enter the state must have their Malaysian identify cards called MyKad, with the "H" code.

Their spouses or dependants must either provide proof of marriage, valid immigration documents, or birth certificates of the children to enter Sabah.

"As for non-citizens, their spouses or dependents must have valid immigration documents, proof of marriage or birth certificates (for those under the age of 18).

"For non-Malaysian permanent residents wanting to enter the state, they must provide their MyPR with the 'H' code, entry permit or entry permit endorsement on their passports," it said.

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