KUALA LUMPUR: A Royal Commission of Inquiry will investigate the long-standing problems related to illegal immigrations in Sabah.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Attorney-General’s Chambers had been entrusted with the responsibility of drawing up the terms of reference, and the initial draft has been prepared.
“To ensure the RCI functions smoothly, I have asked the A-G’s Chambers to get views and feedback from all quarters on the draft before the TOR is finalised,” he said in announcing the Government’s decision to set up the RCI.
Najib said in a statement that the Government was committed to resolving the issue as it could affect the well-being of the people of Sabah and was determined to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.
He hoped that the people of Sabah will take advantage of the RCI and together with the Government find the strategies and best approaches to tackle the problems concerned.
Najib said the decision was made after taking into consideration the views from all quarters.
Leaders from both sides of the political divide who have been clamouring for the RCI described it as a landmark decision by the Government.
They said they would closely monitor the composition of the RCI and the terms of reference to ensure that firm solutions were found to resolve Sabah’s immigrant problem.
Parti Bersatu Sabah secretary-general Datuk Henrynus Amin said Najib’s announcement demolished accusations by the Opposition that the Federal Government was not sincere in resolving such issues.
“We hope this decision will enable the RCI to get to the root of the problem,” said Henrynus, adding that the problem had been troubling Sabah since the 1970s.
Upko secretary-general Datuk Wilfred Tangau hoped members of the RCI would comprise people of calibre and integrity.
He said the terms of reference should be comprehensive enough to cover pertinent questions such as how the Sabah population had increased many folds over the years.
Liberal Democratic Party president Datuk V.K. Liew said the RCI should look into the issue in totality and ensure Malaysia’s sovereignty would never be undermined or compromised by the presence of immigrants.
He said the RCI should also look into measures to deal with the thousands of stateless children left behind by their immigrant parents.
Sabah reportedly has more than half a million illegal immigrants, mostly Filipinos and Indonesians. Due to the influx of immigrants since the late 1960s, the state recorded a 410% population growth in 40 years – from 648,000 in 1970 to 3,309,700 in 2010.