NGO wants action taken against illegal Pakistani traders in Bau

Noew (second right) accompanied by Soo (right) and others showing an extract of the police report and complaint by the public on the presence of the foreigners.

KUCHING: A non-governmental organisation is feeling uncomfortable of the presence of Pakistani immigrants in Bau and has urged the State Immigration Department to take action.

In a letter to the department yesterday, You Are Truly Trusted Society Sarawak (YATTSS) urged the immigration and other relevant authorities to free the district of the foreigners who are plying their trade without permits.

The NGO said the foreigners, especially Pakistanis, are often found in villages heavily populated by the Dayak community such as Bau, Jagoi, Singai, Sematan, Lundu and Serian.

YATTSS president Francis James Noew said there are seven business outlets owned by Pakistani immigrants in Bau alone and several more scattered all over Serikin.

“They claim that their intention is to do business but they have no permit to do door-to-door business. When asked for their business permits, they could only show their passport or social visit pass and not valid work permits,” Noew told reporters at the Immigration Federal Complex here.

“They usually come on week days and when husbands or male family members are not at home, and this is of grave concern to the community,” he said.

Writing on information gathered from villagers, YATTSS said the foreign workers were getting bolder by the day, knocking on doors and entering homes of Dayaks under the pretext of selling mats, fabrics, and furniture.

Elaborating, Noew said the foreigners would persuade villagers to buy their wares by leaving mats, mattresses or furniture pieces outside the house and then returning to collect the so-called “debt” on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Noew said very often the foreigners harassed their female customers to the point of demanding to have sex with those who could not pay them.

“Sexual harassment happened but victims were too ashamed to want to file a police report. They only talked about such treatment among themselves,” Noew said.

Noew also spoke of “evidence that one of these foreign workers touched a teenage girl’s private part while she was having her measurements taken. However, the girl was too scared and shy to make a police report”.

He also spoke of “some of these foreign traders or workers being involved in drug trafficking in the villages in Bau” and of “foreigners who married local women to obtain “spouse visa” to stay longer in Sarawak”.

Noew said a Pakistani recently married a local woman which “goes to show that they could strengthen their position in the community by using his wife’s name to establish a business here”.

Urging the authorities to take precautions against terrorism and other problems, Noew said: “We have seen how they have dominated the business industry in the peninsula and even in Sabah so we are preventing that from happening in Sarawak.”

According to Francis, this is the second time YATTSS has filed a police report and sent a letter to the Immigration Department.

The first report was filed in 2015 but no action was taken, and instead the number of foreigners roaming the villagers has increased.

A copy of the letter was received by the State Immigration deputy director Hamfatullah Syawal Hamdan.

Also present were State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo, YATTSS secretary Jackson Lian and task force member Charles Nain.