KOTA KINABALU: Some 100 people in black attire held a sit-in protest at Lintasan Deasoka near the city’s popular Gaya Street Sunday market to call on the Federal Government not to go ahead with the issuance of Sabah temporary pass or more commonly known as PSS (Pass Sementara Sabah) for “inland foreigners”.
Amid the watchful eyes of the police backed by the Light Strike Force personnel, Sabah opposition leaders and their supporters shouted for protection of the rights of Sabah’s indigenous people while raising concerns about illegal immigrant problems.
Among the leaders present yesterday were Parti Solidari Tanah Airku (Sabah STAR) president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Parti Bersatu Sabah information chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai and Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee.
PSS was announced earlier this year by the Home Ministry as a measure to integrate various groups of foreigners, including Filipino refugees, under one card to help resolve Sabah’s decades-old migrant problem.
Kitingan said the group suggested that instead of issuing a three-year pass, the government should issue a one-year pass.
He said the pass should only be given to holders of Surat Burung-Burung and Census letters, not the 1970s Filipino refugees who are currently holding an immigration stay pass called IMM13.
“The refugees are already properly documented and we believe their numbers have shrunk over the years, ” he added.
Yong, a former chief minister, said the government must adhere to the country’s immigration laws and that he was unhappy with Deputy Home Minister Datuk Azis Jamman for condemning the Black Sunday gathering.
He accused Azis, who is Sepanggar MP, of focusing on documentation and legitimising illegal immigrants instead of protecting state sovereignty.
Joniston urged the government to first crack down on illegal immigrants in the state before implementing PSS.
“If necessary, Malaysia should seek international party intervention to resolve the problem, ” he said.
Kota Kinabalu City police chief Asst Comm Habibi Majinji said the protest was peaceful and ended without incident.