Recently, Bersatu Party of Sabah (PBS), President, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili called on the police to investigate the possible involvement of political parties in the illegal issuance of identification documents to foreigners.
He urged the police to investigate the involvement of any Sabah political parties as there have been widespread allegations of involvement by political parties regarding the issue. This follows the arrests of the National Registration Department officers in offering birth certificates and identity cards using falsified information.
What exactly is the Sabah State Government doing about this? There seems to be no resolve towards this issue.
More recently, UPKO Youth chief Felix Joseph Saang called for the government to revisit the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in the Sabah Report and to take over from where the previous government left off. He added that the recommendations must be implemented quickly in view of the recent arrests of three individuals.
He said the arrests were evidence that illegal immigrants continued to get their hands on the identity cards through dubious means.
These are only the reported cases. What about the undetected ones? The issuance of valid documents to foreigners seems to be perpetual problem in Sabah, which had a population of nearly 3.9 million back in 2017. Of this, non-citizens stood at 1 million! That is literally 25% of Sabah’s population.
Today, these numbers would have escalated and if the Sabah government remains ignorant or non-reactive, social ills in the state would be on the rise. Crime rates would escalate and it would be the natural citizens of Sabah who would suffer.
Interestingly, way back in 2017, Warisan’s deputy president, Darell Leiking was pushing for the ‘federal government to come clean’ on how many illegal immigrants existed in Sabah?
Whilst wearing the opposition cap then, the MP for Penampang had questioned the Federal Government, “Who are these people who make up the 3.9 million people currently living in Sabah?”
So, where is Darell Leiking today on the illegal immigrant issue? Is he silent because now he is the ruling state government and Minister of International Trade and Industry?
Darell said then he believed that Sabahans remembered Barisan Nasional state leaders repeatedly saying former CM Musa Aman was going to eradicate the perennial problem of Projek IC and end the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah for good.
It wasn’t done, so what is Darell Leiking going to do about it?
According to Felix, the Warisan government should reactivate the high-powered committee to look into the illegal immigrant issue in Sabah, that was set-up by the previous government.
The committee, which was one of the recommendations of the RCI Report, was to be jointly-chaired by the Home Minister and Sabah Chief Minister. But since coming into power, the Sabah state government has done nothing to carry out the recommendations of the RCI.
Why isn’t Darell Leiking looking at re-activating the high-powered committee?
Shafie Apdal and his cabinet should be focusing on matters such as these because the issue of illegal immigrants affects all of Sabah’s socio-economic development sectors. There must be concerted commitment by the State government to systematically repatriate immigrants back to their countries of origin. This is for the good of the natural citizens of Sabah.
If the Warisan Government continues to have a lackadaisical attitude, then they are inefficient. Enough of the ‘fires’ at illegal squatter settlements and NRD officers rushing to register these illegal immigrants.