(The Malaysian Insider) - "In a sensitive situation such as the RCI, sensational coverage will not bring any positive results or effects for the state of Sabah or the country as a whole”
Sensational coverage of the ongoing royal inquiry into Sabah’s foreign population explosion could spark unnecessary tension, its chief minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman reminded journalists as witness testimonies of illegal immigrants being fast-tracked for citizenship is raising the mercury ahead of Election 2013.
Questions are being asked of the ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) role over the last two decades in failing to stem the flood of illegal immigrants into Malaysia’s easternmost state, which has seen its population grow from just over 630,000 in 1970 to over 3.1 million in 2010 — more than double the national standard.
“Many sensitive issues have been raised by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants that is currently being held.
“We cannot interfere in the deliberations and the testimonies in the continuing hearing. We also should not rush into any conclusions while the Inquiry is proceeding,” said Musa(picture) in a brief six-paragraph media statement to The Malaysian Insider last night.
The state’s longest-serving chief minister urged reporters to be mindful of their coverage of the RCI, “to avoid bringing about any kind of unnecessary tension among the public”.
“The government has no control over editorial content. We believe in the freedom of the press,” said the 61-year-old, who has been in office since March 2003.
“At the same time, in a sensitive situation such as the RCI, sensational coverage will not bring any positive results or effects for the state of Sabah or the country as a whole,” he added.
Musa had also made a similar request last week at a closed-door meeting with state English-language media representatives from New Sabah Times, Daily Express, The Borneo Post, andBN-controlled newspapers New Straits Times (NST) and The Star, as well as national news agency Bernama.
The issue of illegal immigrants has turned emotive among Sabah natives like the Kadazandusun and Murut communities, many of whom feel that the state has been robbed of its sovereignty through the massive influx of foreigners from neighbouring Philippines and Indonesia.
It is no secret that Sabahans are angry and want these foreigners shipped back to their home countries in one way or another. They also often blame the immigrants for robbing them of job opportunities and for the rise in the state’s social, economic and security problems.
Recent statistics from a 2010 census of Sabah’s population showed an extraordinary 390 per cent increase from 636,431 citizens in 1970 to 3,120,040 citizens in 2010, more than double the national population growth of just 164 per cent.
About 28 per cent of Sabah’s 3.2 million-strong population are foreigners, numbering at 889,000 people.
Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/tensions-can-flare-if-sabah-rci-sensationalised-musa-aman-tells-newshounds/