Sabah opposition parties want in on state’s illegal immigrant committee

KOTA KINABALU, Dec 30 — Sabah-based opposition parties are clamouring to participate in a working committee on the state’s illegal immigrant issue that Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan has finally agreed to chair.

Leading an independent group of opposition parties and non-governmental organisations, political maverick Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said that the group will be able to contribute through providing solutions into Sabah’s long standing immigrant issues that may be beyond the working committee’s limitations.

“It is not that we don’t think they are competent. But for us, I think we can come up with solutions that won’t be constrained by political limitations and links, but in the best interest of Sabahans still,” said Jeffrey in a press conference here today.

He also said that the federal government should take into consideration the opinion and feedback from other channels before coming up with the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the committees being formed to address the immigrant issues.

According to Jeffrey, the independent “committee” was made up of people from three Sabah-based political parties — Sabah State Reform Party, Sabah Progressive Party and Parti Cinta Sabah and 21 NGOs including Datuk Wilfred Bumburing’s Angkatan Perubahan Sabah.

Earlier this month, Putrajaya released the Royal Commission of Inquiry report on Sabah’s immigrant issues and subsequently set up a permanent committee headed by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had earlier announced that Pairin would be heading the working committee but up until Christmas eve, the Parti Bersatu Sabah president had been mum on whether he had received his appointment letter or accepting the post.

Today, Jeffrey said that it was time for Sabahans to set aside political differences and come together to solve the immigrant issues once and for all.

“The people are angry now and they will only get angrier if the issues are not resolved. We want the federal government to take action, or else the sentiments from Sabahans will get out of hand.

“We cannot control what the public will do, it will be more intense and may be aggressive, depending on the people,” said Yong, adding that actions include peaceful protests and demonstrations and bringing the matter to international levels.

The group is asking for, among others, for a clean sweep of the electoral roll to weed out all the names of unqualified “voters” or those holding genuine ICs obtained through dubious means; to issue a special Sabah IC to Sabahans by setting up a Sabah Registration Department under a new Sabah Registration Ordinance; to investigate and prosecute any culprits who have been implicated in the RCI Report as being involved in the Projek IC; to make available to the public all records of proceedings of the RCI; and to call a special session of the Sabah Legislative Assembly and Parliament to debate the RCI Report, its findings and recommendations.

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Sabah opposition parties want in on state’s illegal immigrant committee
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