KOTA KINABALU: It's “aye” from Barisan Nasional leaders to the five-man Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe the abnormal rise in Sabah's population and claims that foreigners are getting citizenships through backdoor channels in the state.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had announced on Saturday that former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong would head the panel, which will have six months to probe what politicians have tagged “the mother of all ills” in the state.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, who had headed the parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms, said the RCI fulfilled a recommendation made by the panel.
“The presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah had been linked to the tainting of the electoral roll,” he said, adding that Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), of which he is the deputy president, would give its cooperation and support to the RCI.
Ongkili said the decision to set up the RCI showed that the Prime Minister was prepared to “take the bull by the horns” to resolve the longstanding illegal immigrant problem in Sabah.
“He is a true blue national statesman,” added Ongkili, who said the eight-point terms of reference for the commission were comprehensive and up to expectations.
He said the composition of the panel was also a balance of reputable and experienced professionals and statesmen, and he was confident they would solve the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah once and for all.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek recalled that when PBS first made the call for an RCI in 1994, then deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim rejected the idea.
“He (Anwar) has changed his tune by pledging to form such an RCI if the Opposition came into power,” Dr Chua said after opening the Sabah MCA convention yesterday.
Voicing MCA's support for the setting up of the royal commission, the party chief said DAP had condemned Anwar when he was in power for 17 years but the party was now praising the Opposition Leader.
“Maybe, DAP has some sort of a cleansing machine in their office,” he said.
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