Bar Ah Long and illegals, not activist – SAPP

(Borneo Post Online) – The state authorities should take action against the Ah Long (loan sharks) from other states and illegal immigrants in Sabah instead of barring a NGO activist from entering the state, said Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Youth chief Edward Dagul.

He said the latest action in barring Haris Ibrahim, president of Malaysian Civil Rights Movement (MCLM), from entering Sabah has made many people ponder on the priorities of the authorities.

“Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for the people of Sabah if the relevant authorities, namely the Immigration Department stop along operatives from other states coming to Sabah or for that matter, to stop the influx of illegal immigrants entering the State?” he said in a statement yesterday.

Edward said the reports in the local newspapers that three moneylending premises were being probed by police had confirmed the fear of SAPP.

He said SAPP had warned against the extension of the Money Lending Act 1951 in 2008 which arbitrarily replaced the Sabah Money Lenders Ordinance.

According to him, the authorities then had claimed that the extension of the Money Lenders Act would enable them (the authorities) to be able to tackle unhealthy lending activities, loan sharks etc. but what was reported in the local news suggests otherwise.

To many, if not all, in Sabah, the problems of alongs and illegal immigrants, are matters of State security.

These directly threaten the livelihood of the people and should be accorded top priorities whereas the barring of an NGO activist from entering Sabah under the lame excuse of state security is nothing more than an act of political cowardice.

“Haris Ibrahim is a well known, respected civil liberty activist whose Bersih and MCLM roles have received wide acclaim. There is no basis for barring him from the State. He was a guest at and as such, we will continue to welcome him,” Edward said.