KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) has echoed the Chief Minister’s call to investigate any connection between a board member in government-linked company Sawit Kinabalu and a person who claimed he obtained Malaysian citizenship illegally in the 1980s.
PBS president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said he believed such an investigation would open a can of worms, particularly on immigration loopholes and weaknesses which led to the large presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah.
In a statement on Tuesday (Jan 18), Ongkili said a background check must be made on Sabah MIC chairman Peer Mohamad Kadir, who had been appointed to the GLC’s board and shares the same name as the person whose citizenship is in question.
According to Sabah activists, that person had admitted in 2013 that he entered Sabah via India in 1984 and obtained his Malaysian citizenship via dubious means several years later.
He had reportedly made the confession to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah.
Ongkili said it was vital for this matter to be clarified, since PBS had always been a strong advocate of keeping Sabah free of illegal immigrants.
“We strongly believe that the state, and the country as a whole, belong to genuine Malaysians,” he said.
Ongkili, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs), said PBS’ Youth wing would lodge a police report soon.
“We hope the investigation would (reveal everything). We would like to know how he got his citizenship, plus other details, so proper action can be taken against this individual,” Ongkili said.
“We have received the Sabah Immigration Department’s commitment to work with the Sabah government to find a solution (to the immigration loopholes),” he added.
Last year, Ongkili had said that the federalisation and relaxation of immigration conditions for entry into Sabah, especially through sea vessels at the Menumbok Port, resulted in the state losing control of its immigration rights.
He claimed there were no immigration controls or checks on passengers arriving by ferry and oceangoing vessels at Menumbok or at the Kota Kinabalu ferry terminal, which are the entry points into Sabah from the island of Labuan, which is a Federal Territory.
He said this was a serious loophole because undocumented foreigners, criminals and undesirable elements are known to have used this route to escape the law.
Ongkili urged the government and authorities to do what is right for Sabah as protecting the sovereignty of the state and country is also enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).