Jeffrey warns of creeping xenophobia


By Queville To, FMT

KOTA KINABALU: Umno parliamentarians in Sabah must lead the way in addressing the issue of illegal immigrants in parliament or face the inevitability of a short lived political career.

United Borneo Front (UBF) chiarman Jeffrey Kitingan said even if a policy is in place to prioritise locals for jobs and welfare, the immigirants or PTIs (the Bahasa Malaysia acronym for immigrants), have equal access to such opportunities if they have Malaysian identity documents.

“We must not ignore this issue as it’s creating a very xenophobic environment in Sabah against the foreigners and against West Malaysians, who are being blamed by locals for turning a blind eye to the plight of Sabahans,” he said.

Jeffrey urged all Sabah MPs to present the people with a detailed plan of action for addressing the PTI (illegal immigrants) issue in parliament.

“If all 25 Sabah MPs have the grit to raise this issue in parliament en bloc, it will awaken the concern of our Federal big boys.

“Umno MPs in Sabah must lead the way in addressing the PTI issue in parliament.

“It may hurt the big boss to hear the painful truth from his own camp in Sabah but it is better to address the hole in the boat now than to let the boat sink in the election.

“The sentiment of the people will turn against the tide if their complaints continue to be ignored.

“I have informed our supporters that if they have any evidence of PTI wrongdoing, they should work with the police force and we will highlight these problems to the government on their behalf.

“Dead-duck MPs who are not willing to address fundamental common interests should be replaced by the next election.

“The people need effective leaders, not just popular ones who are lazy, complacent or ignorant of current affairs,” he said in a statement.

Be accountable

Jeffrey, who is the younger brother of deputy chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, told a UBF Borneo Tea Party in Keningau over the weekend that the illegal immigrant issue is grating on the nerves of the voters and causing xenophobia against immigrants.

“The results of the 2008 parliamentary and state elections in Sabah mean that our Barisan Nasional (government) is very confident of winning the next round.

“Of 25 parliamentary seats, the BN won 24 and of 60 state seats, they won 59.

“The BN may easily win the next elections in Sabah, but the point is that every MP in Sabah must now be accountable to their voters and show us what they have individually done to either raise or address the issue of the PTI problem in parliament.

“Some Sabah MPs have been very vocal the past three years, but there are others who have almost disappeared into the background with their electoral win,” he said.

He reminded that all the MPs are under oath to the King and the nation to secure the integrity of gaining citizenships pursuant to Part III of the Federal Constitution.