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Friday May 23, 2008

Kiandee stops Kit Siang’s bid

THE much-awaited Opposition motion on the longstanding illegal immigrants issue – seen by many as a test of Sabah MPs' loyalty to the Barisan Nasional – fizzled out when the Dewan disallowed even its tabling.

Lim Kit Siang (DAP – Ipoh Timur) had intended to table a motion to amend the motion of thanks on the Royal Address to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to resolve the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah.

Many had viewed the motion as a chance to gauge if Sabah MPs would support an Opposition motion on a topic so close to their hearts following fiery speeches recently on their frustrations over Federal Government policy.

However, when Lim stood up to table the motion at the end of the winding-up of the debate on the motion of thanks, Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee stopped him.

Kiandee did not allow Lim to read out his motion, saying that it was irrelevant and that it was being tabled at the wrong time.

“This is the motion of thanks on the Royal Address. This is the time for MPs to thank the King. It is most inappropriate to table this motion now because it is rude to say thank you but with a condition at the same time,” he said to loud table thumps from Barisan MPs.

When Lim protested, Kiandee replied: “I know you are concerned about this issue (the illegal immigrants in Sabah) but I can assure you that Sabah MPs, including myself, will not vote for the motion to be passed,” he said.

The sitting was then adjourned.

At the Parliament lobby, a minister said they were all told to turn up as a vote was expected to be called “but we did not know the Speaker was going to reject the motion”.

Datuk Anifah Aman (BN – Kimanis), who had been one of the Sabahans to speak out, said they would file their own motion.

“We do not want ... others to say it for us. We will put in our own motion. Ipoh Timur’s proposal for a Royal Commission would not have been what we wanted. Nobody loves Sabah as much as we do,” he said.

Lim felt that Kiandee had let Parliament down with his ruling.

“This is a sad day. There was a chance for Sabahans to bring forth an issue that has been plaguing them for more than 30 years, a problem that has rendered Sabahans strangers in their own land because the state is overwhelmed with illegal foreigners.”

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