Public frustration on immigrant problem growing, PBS warns

By Michael Kaung, Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: Frustration and public discontent is growing in Sabah over the burgeoning population of illegal immigrants, warned a Barisan Nasional component party.

The federal government has to starting acting immediatley to resolve the problem rather than put it off to later, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) secretary general Henrynus Amin said.

The party wants the issue to be included in the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) so as to  compel enforcement agencies to produce results.

Minister in the PM’s department Idris Jala said recently that the issue of illegal immigration is not one of the country’s six top priorities and therefore is not included in the NKRA.

Henrynus said the non inclusion of the illegal immigrant issue in the NKRA will reinforce the already strong public opinion that the federal government lacks the political will to act.

While accepting that the special laboratory set up by the state government to deal with the problem is a first step, he said: “The results must acted upon.Otherwise, it may be seen as mere window dressing.”

The special laboratory on foreign workers and illegal immigration involves relevant federal and state departments and agencies including the police, immigration, ACA, Attorney General’s chambers, Election Commission, local authorities, district offices and NGO.

PBS stresses that the presence of huge transient population in Sabah is a national problem which requires national solutions and commitment, Henrynus  said.

PBS chief and deputy chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan emphasised the party’s zero tolerance on illegal immigration and repeated a deadline of 2012 to resolve the issue.

Illegal syndicates

Federal leaders should not forget that Sabah joined in the formation of Malaysia on security grounds and not economic.

The 20-Point safeguards, the inter governmental committee report and Malaysia Agreement which formed the basis for Sabah and Sarawak to be part of Malaysia plainly show this fact, Henrynus said.

Ignoring or denying protection to the people of Sabah does not absolve them from this responsibility and the lackadaisical attitude of some political leaders and government officials on the issue is disappointing and frustrating, he added.

“It is odd for officials to ask for proof when tangible proof is right under their noses,” he said.

He said the man in the street can tell that illegal syndicates are operating within the deep layers of government to help foreigners become citizens of this country through the backdoor.

He warned that the younger generation of Sabahans are uneasy about the apparent inaction or powerlessness of the enforcement agencies to deal with illegal immigration and are demanding answers.

“PBS recognises the fears and concerns of these young generations and will work hard to accommodate their demand within the framework of a political solution,” he said.