By Chris Maskilone
KOTA KINABALU: Issuing passes to foreign nationals to remain in Sabah is tantamount to allowing them to multiply, claimed Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Information Chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.
According to the Kiulu Assemblyman the move may end up altering the State’s population demographic with the possibility locals being outnumbered that eventually puts them at a disadvantage.
“Sabahans have every reason to be alarmed and concerned with the government’s decision to issue the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) to some 600,000 foreign nationals in the State which could be renewed every three years,” he said.
“Who are the 600,000 foreign nationals to be issued with the PSS? Are they the so-called war refugees from Southern Philippines who fled to Sabah in the 1970’s? If yes, then the 600,000 figure suggest they have multiplied in numbers over the years.
“Imagine what the figure would be in three years following the government’s decision to issue them with a three-year PSS,” said Bangkuai in a statement today.
He said it must also be noted with concern and fear that just a few days ago, the Philippines’ Foreign Secretary has blatantly declared that Sabah belongs to the Philippines.
Prior to that, he recalled the Philippines’ Ambassador to Malaysia had, after paying a courtesy call on the Chief Minister some months ago, also publicly stated that his country has yet to drop its claim over Sabah.
“With this concern (Philippines claim over Sabah) hanging over our head, it cannot be discounted that the large presence of Filipino illegal immigrants and the Southern Philippines war refugees who had remained in Sabah could prompt a ‘reverse takeover’,” he said.
He added that it must also be noted that there had been numerous reports about Filipino immigrants from Sabah entering Peninsula Malaysia using fake documents, and as such the illegal immigrants issue in Sabah could become a national problem.
Hence, the federal leadership ought to view the large presence of Filipino illegal immigrants in Sabah as a potential national problem and initiate immediate steps to deport them in collaboration with the State government.
“Authorities should also be mindful of the fact that the illegal immigrants are “hell bent” on remaining in Sabah as evident from their willingness to pay thousands of ringgit to obtain Malaysian identification documents through fraudulent means.”
Just weeks ago, it was reported that several individuals, including a National Registration Department ( NRD) official were arrested in Semporna, which is the hometown of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, for allegedly helping illegal immigrants to obtain Malaysian identification documents.
“In the interest of the future of local genuine Sabahans, all the foreign nationals should be deported as issuing the PSS would not only lead them multiplying in numbers but would also encourage more foreigners to enter the State through the backdoor,” he said.
Towards this end, Bangkuai urged the government to invoke Section 6 (1) (c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act155) that governs the deportation of immigrants without proper travel documents and repatriate illegal immigrants in Sabah to their country of origin.
“All foreign nationals without any travel documents who genuinely wish to return and earn a living in Sabah should re-enter the State with proper and valid travel documents issued by their country of origin,” he said. -SabahNewsToday