PARLIAMENT BUILDING: “The recent announcement by the Prime Minister that the federal government is going to issue temporary pass or work permits to illegal immigrants is a smack in the face of every Sabah leaders in the PN State and Federal government. During the Sabah state election recently, the illegal immigrants’ issue in Sabah was fully utilised by the leaders from PN, GRS and BN playing to the sentiments of the voters by stoking anger and distrust towards the then Warisan led state government blaming them for the illegal immigrants problem in Sabah.

It’s no surprise that in the past few days we saw statements coming from Dr Jeffrey Kitingan President of STAR who is also the Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah, PBS President Datuk Dr. Maximus Ongkili the federal Minister for Sabah and Sarawak Affairs and PBRS Deputy President Arthur Kurup who is also the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister Department in trying to explain and make sense of the announcement made by the Prime Minister.

Their contradictory statements just show how the Federal government continues to disrespect the views of Sabah leaders and the non-appreciation of the critical situation of the illegal immigrants’ problems in Sabah.

It was embarrassing for Dr Jeffrey who came out first with a statement stating that such proposal will not be implemented in Sabah when he was immediately corrected by Dr. Maximus explanation that such proposal will include Sabah and Sarawak if there is request from the Plantation and Industrial Sectors. And this coming from the 2 presidents of a component party of the Perikatan Nasional government.

Dr. Jeffrey and Dr. Maximus must explain to every Sabahans why they are part of a government that is willing to legalised the illegal immigrants to stay and work in the country when before this they have been very vocal and was strongly against the proposal to introduce the already scrapped Sabah Temporary Pass (STP) to replace the IMM13, Kad burung-burung and sijil bancian in Sabah. If they are going to say the STP is different, they are indeed correct because the STP are documents relating to refugees and not illegal immigrants. Which makes the proposal by the Prime Minister is much more dangerous and serious in having the effect of legalising the stay of illegal immigrants in the country. Our law states clearly that illegal immigrants must be arrested, charged, convicted and deported back to their country of origin. How can Dr. Jeffrey, Dr. Maximus and all the other PN, GRS and BN leaders support and are part of an administration that is willing to issue temporary pass to legalised the entry and stay of illegal immigrants?

They should not be hypocrites when they themselves have been telling Sabahans all these time of the threat these illegal immigrants posed to our country security and our livelihood. It is hypocritical of them when it is alright for them to use the illegal immigrant issue during the Sabah state election to get support by making promises such as sending back all the illegal immigrants who had penetrated our boarders. But now instead of fulfilling their so-called promises of making a tougher stand to arrest and send these illegal immigrants back to their home country, they are offering them temporary pass to stay here legally to work.

How would the government even start to identify which illegal immigrants that will be given the temporary pass or work permits? We have read reports that the Ministry of Health had declared the emergence of Covid-19 clusters at the illegal immigrant’s temporary detention centre in Sabah making it impossible to consider those illegal immigrants in the detention centre. Or is the government going to announce and invite all illegal immigrants in the country to come forward and issue them work permits? This will cause the flooding and encourage more of them to come to our country illegally and by doing so, increasing the risk of spreading the covid-19 virus in our country. Clearly this proposal by the federal government has not been thought carefully.

We understand that Covid-19 pandemic has created a negative impact on our country’s economy and the people’s livelihood. The federal government should instead consider first the possibility of providing the locals with employments rather than giving temporary work pass to the illegal immigrants. Arthur Kurup statement is a welcome proposal that the locals especially the youth must be given priorities first. Another option is to consider the refugees in Sabah. Rather than the federal government willingness to give illegal immigrants temporary pass and legalising their stay, the government should instead use the huge numbers of refugees in Sabah by giving them work permit to work in the plantation and construction sectors in peninsular Malaysia.

This will not only solved the problems of shortages of labours in the plantation and construction sectors in the whole country but also would help to reduce the overwhelming numbers of refugees in Sabah. Besides, these refugees hold documents such as IMM13, kad burung-burung and sijil Bancian which are recognised by the Federal government.” –

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