KOTA MARUDU: The concerns of Sabahans over the Federal Government’s sincerity in implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah are unfounded, said Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) secretary general Datuk Johnny Mositun.
He said the delay in acting on the recommendations does not mean that the Federal Government was not serious in handling the matter.
"That is not true. The delay is due to the need for a comprehensive and effective plan of action to resolve a complicated problem that goes back several decades, an inherited problem that doesn’t lend itself to any hasty or knee-jerk solution,” he said at the opening of the joint-annual general meetings of Matunggong and Tanjung Kapor PBS divisions here.
He was representing PBS acting president Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili.
Present were Assistant Minister of Welfare and Community Affairs Anita Baranting, PBS information chief Datuk Jahid Jahim and Matunggong division chief Sarapin Magana, Tanjung Kapor chief Stanley Majili, former assemblyman Datuk Markus Majihi and former MP Henry Madatang.
Mositun said Sabahans wanted a quick solution to the problem, and their impatience over the delay in implementing the recommendations was understandable.
However, he said, it was not fair to blame the Working Committee chairman, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, or PBS for not doing anything.
“It's just not right to point accusations at PBS and Tan Sri Joseph because the RCI working committee that he chaired was formed by the Federal Government and had nothing to do with PBS or any individual political party.
"That Tan Sri Joseph is also PBS president is a coincidence, that’s all,” Mositun said.
Mositun rejected claims that the RCI was merely a Barisan Nasional gimmick and that the Federal Government was not serious about resolving the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah.
He said Parti Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking, despite being well-educated and knowledgeable on government matters, chose to play up the issue because he knew it would stike a chord with Sabahans, and leaders and followers of opposition parties and other groups that usually sprout up during the election time.
“But PBS knows for a fact that the Main Committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister has made a thorough study of the recommendations and drawn input from the ministries, departments and agencies that will have to implement the recommendations,” he said.
He said PBS had no wish to pre-empt Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on the matter but added that Dr Ongkili had been liasing with the Federal Cabinet and the Home Minister for the matter to be expedited.
“All I will say at this juncture is that Sabahans will hear from Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi himself soon about the matter.
"Of that I am confident. The opposition can speculate and disparage the BN, but we in PBS know that both the State and Federal authorities have been doing their work quietly and without fanfare,” he said.
Mositun told the leaders and members not to believe in the opposition’s claims of being strong enough to topple Barisan.
"That is all rhetoric. They are not even united among themselves.
"They are arguing over almost everything, taking potshots at each other, jumping from one party to another in search of positions and improving their chances of being nominated as candidates.
"They are unable to form a credible alliance even among themselves," he said.
Calling on voters in Matunggong and Tanjung Kapor to be wary of sweet -talking opposition candidates, Mositun said there were many opportunists who would contest on opposition tickets and if they are lucky enough to win, they would later jump back to Barisan or declare themselves Barisan-friendly.
"My advice is for voters not to take chances with political opportunists who are now either forming new parties or jumping from one party to another just to become candidates.
"See for yourselves the truth, and place your trust in BN,” Mositun said.