‘Can you expect thieves to arrest themselves?’

A Sabah-based activist has accused Upko of pussyfooting around the illegal immigrant issue.

Joseph Bingkasan, FMT

KOTA KINABALU: The author of a book ‘Lest We Forget’ that chronicled the ‘acquisition’ of Sabah by Umno-linked authorities, who re-engineered the demographics of the state, is surprised that local leaders are now downplaying the facts.

Expressing his concern, Dr Chong Eng Leong said he was worried that even a hardline local Barisan Nasional coalition component was backing away from the controversial issue after years of championing it.

Chong is particularly incensed that state assembly representative Donald Mojuntin, the son of the late Peter Mojuntin who is lionised as a defender of Sabah’s rights, was now choosing to limit the fallout from a widely acknowledged illegal act.

He accused Mojuntin, from the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) party, who was formerly a parliamentarian of manipulating for personal reasons a pivotal issue in state and national politics.

Mojuntin has also riled independents with his conciliatory stand on other sensitive Sabah-centric issues notably the date of the formation of Malaysia.

Chong said Mojuntin’s recent statement “let’s not waste time and effort to over-politicise it” when speaking about the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah, was self-serving.

“I am sure Donald (Mojuntin) and Upko know that hundreds of thousands of foreign migrants are in the Sabah electoral rolls – they decide which political party to govern us. Isn’t this problem a political issue, Donald?” asked Chong who is now with PKR and known for his stance on immigration reform.

He said the coalition partners appeared confused over their stand on the issue with Upko president Bernard Dompok once saying that internal upheavals and the strained relationship between state and federal governments had hampered efforts to resolve the problem.

Chong’s book gives a detailed insight of the audacious re-creation of Sabah’s ethnic and religious makeup of the state to tilt the balance of political power in favour of the ruling BN coalition and Umno in particular.

He pointed out that though the Umno-led coalition had been governing Sabah since 1994, repeated calls by Sabah BN members for a royal inquiry since 1996 had not been entertained until this year and even then reluctantly and with limitations.

“Isn’t this political? Donald (Mojuntin) also said the RCI has no power nor manpower to take action on its findings and recommendations as this belongs to relevant bodies like police, immigration and the NRD,” noted Chong.

Immigration, police, NRD involved

Chong said that by stating this, Mojuntin was conveniently ignoring the fact that during in the Likas election petition hearing in 1999, witnesses testified under oath that the meetings, chaired by the late Megat Junid, the deputy home minister at the time, discussed how ICs could be given to foreigners in Sabah and these meetings “involved immigration, NRD and top guns from Bukit Aman”.

“Can you expect the thieves to arrest themselves?

“My research on this issue since the late 90’s is to let us Sabahans (be) aware of this treacherous deed done by the federal government – Dompok knew the modus operandi as he had heard the testimonies from public and briefings by NRD when he was the chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity in 2006.”

He said that Dompok is now urging the public to come forward and help the RCI to set things right but asked since he himself knew the modus operandi, would Dompok come forward to testify.