PBS wants quick solution to Sabah’s illegal immigrants issue

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) wants the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah-led (GRS) state government to solve the issue of illegal immigrants as soon as possible.

Likening the presence of illegal immigrants as ‘hantu bangkit’ or the undead, PBS president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili (pic) said this has been a troubling issue for Sabah for decades.

“The illegal immigrants are like ‘hantu bangkit’. They keep popping up and don’t seem to go away,” he said during his speech at the ongoing PBS congress here on Friday (July 1).

He said recommendations have been made in the past by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) against illegal immigrants, but the follow up actions have yet to be taken.

“I call upon the GRS government to set up a dual-partisan (inter-party and multi-party) committee in the state Cabinet to get input from all stakeholders and members to solve this problem once and for all,” Ongkili said.

He said he has spoken to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor on this, and the latter had agreed to bring the matter for discussion in the state cabinet if they could make it for the upcoming session later this month.

He said with so many reports and studies held, there should not be any more delay to this matter being resolved and action taken.

“RCI have outlined the guidelines and actions that can be taken, including to issue a special Sabah Identification Card for genuine Sabahans, and that is why it should not take too long,” said Ongkili.

He said the state can also close all uncharted entry borders to prevent more illegal immigrants from entering.

“When these entry borders have been closed and tightened, the government can focus on solving the problem from within,” he said.

Adding to this, Ongkili mentioned the townhall sessions held by Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan to get feedback on how to tackle this matter, and that it has to be brought up to higher authorities to get the ball rolling.

He feels that if done correctly, results can be seen within six months, starting from having the matter brought up in the Cabinet or Parliament to get the views of all parties.

“PBS will make our own submissions on this matter,” he said.

Ongkili also chided past leaders for not taking a stronger stance and following up on this matter, to nip it in the bud when they still could during the Barisan Nasional era.

He said he is not framing names or accusing any party of badly handling this matter, but the fact was that the RCI report has all the data supporting these claims, with witnesses also telling the court the same thing.

“I don’t have to accuse any party. Just look at the findings of the RCI,” he said when asked to elaborate on this further in a press conference after his speech.

Asked if the government should take action against these groups of political leaders seeing that it is a matter of threatening the sovereignty of the nation, Ongkili responded "that’s why I said, reports are there but no follow up is done yet".

“I think for PBS, we already filed police reports for further action to be taken,” he said.

He said whatever happened which had led to the issuance of identification documents through dubious means was ‘an abuse of Sabah rights’.

Ongkili said security forces like the police and army have been working hard on the borders, but it was still not enough to solve the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah.

“This is a chance for GRS to do this right, because we also have a CM who really wants to solve this matter,” he said.

He also reiterated calls to have the state government push for rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) restored and for prosperity to be enjoyed for all Sabahans.

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