BEAUFORT: Opposition Barisan Nasional held its biggest rally as top national and state leaders urged Kimanis voters to reject the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) for illegal immigrants as a clear message to the ruling state Parti Warisan Sabah and Pakatan Harapan government.
Former Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan came out of retirement to deny that the special technical committee on illegal immigrants he chaired when he was deputy chief minister under Barisan in 2016 had approved the PSS, as claimed by Warisan.
Pairin told the crowd of over 3,000 at the Kimanis Commercial Centre here on Wednesday night that only a suggestion was made for the issuance of the Sabah Resident Pass for Filipino civil war refugees.
But they never approved or gave the green light for the special pass, he added.
“It was only a suggestion within the technical committee and there was never any approval for it, ” Pairin said in denying 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 14th General Election last year.
The emotional arguments over the PSS in the current campaign for the Kimanis by-election tomorrow also saw former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi denying that the steering committee on Sabah illegal immigrants chaired by him and former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman had ever approved the temporary pass.
“They are not telling the truth, ” he told the crowd.
Top leaders from other Barisan allies, including MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, PBS president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah deputy president Arthur Kurup and former Kimanis MP Datuk Seri Anifah Aman took to the stage to urge voters to deny Warisan and reject the PSS.
Dr Wee told the crowd that at no point did the Barisan federal Cabinet approve the proposed PSS that was being introduced by the Warisan and Pakatan government for Filipino war refugees in Sabah.
“There are six former federal ministers here on stage, they can all vouch for that, ” he added.
Anifah said the issuance of the proposed three-year pass would change the demography of the indigenous people of Sabah forever.
Sabah Umno’s Datuk Mohamad Alamin 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.