BEAUFORT: Barisan Nasional held its biggest rally yet in the Kimanis parliamentary by-election, as its top national and state leaders urged Kimanis voters to reject the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) for illegal immigrants by sending a clear a message to the ruling Parti Warisan Sabah.
Former Parti Bersatu Sabah president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan denied that the special technical committee on illegal immigrants, which he chaired in 2016 as Barisan deputy chief minister, had ever approved the PSS, as claimed by Warisan.
There was only a suggestion by the committee for the issuance of a Sabah Resident Pass for Filipino civil war refugees, he told the crowd of more than 3,000 at the Kimanis Commercial Centre here on Wednesday night (Jan 15).
The committee never gave the green light for the special pass, he stressed.
“It was only a suggestion within the technical committee and there was never any approval for it, ” said Pairin, who refuted claims by Warisan and Pakatan that the PSS was approved by the previous Barisan government.
Pairin retired from politics after losing his Tambunan state seat in the 2018 general election.
The emotional arguments over the PSS in the current campaign for the Jan 18 Kimanis by-election continued with former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi saying that the steering committee on Sabah illegal immigrants chaired by him and former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman never approved the temporary pass.
“They are not telling the truth. There was never any suggestion to the steering committee for the pass, ” he told the crowd.
Top leaders from other other Barisan allies, including MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, PBS president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongklili, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) deputy president Arthur Kurup and former Kimannis MP Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, also took to the stage to urge voters not to vote for Warisan over the PSS issue.
Dr Wee told the crowd that at no point did the Barisan federal cabinet ever approved the proposed PSS that is now being introduced by the Warisan and Pakatan government for the Filipino war refugees in Sabah.
“There are six former federal ministers here on stage. They all can vouch that the Barisan cabinet never approved such a pass, ” he added.
Anifah said that the issuance of the proposed three-year pass would change the demography of the indigenous people of Sabah for ever.
Barisan's candidate in the Kimanis by-election is Sabah Umno’s Datuk Mohamad Alamin. He is taking on Warisan’s Datuk Karim Bujang for the traditional Umno seat that was held by Anifah who quit the party after GE14 to become an independent.