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‘No response from Najib, Musa on illegal immigrants’

 | May 25, 2011

Sabah BN government yet to revert to SAPP's 14-point memo with suggestions on how to resolve the illegal immigrants issue

PAPAR: The way the opposition here sees it, the Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s continued silence on the illegal immigrant issue is a tacit admission of defeat.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) said the government has yet to revert to the 14-point memorandum it submitted after the 1999 general election on the issue.

Entitled “Mother of All Threats”, it had among others, proposals on how to better manage the long-standing problem affecting Sabah.

Former chief minister and SAPP president Yong Teck Lee said SAPP was still a member of the BN when it submitted the 14-point memorandum.

It had a suggestion for comprehensive management of maritime monitoring and a proposal to impose a RM500 bond on foreigners arriving by ferry from neighbouring countries.

The bond would be forfeited if they failed to return using the ferry.

“We tabled the 14 points one by one in Putrajaya in front of then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, but before we finished our presentation he fell asleep.

“Yes…, he fell asleep. We have witnesses to this but what to do, he is an old man,” said Yong.

A similar memorandum was also presented to his deputy Najib Tun Razak and Chief Minister Musa Aman but there was no response from either.

Yong believes the BN leadership feels it is no longer necessary for them to respond to the issue, especially after Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS)  eturned to the BN’s fold in 2002.

“They are reluctant to respond because it involves their ‘fixed deposit’,” he said.

Umno refused to listen

Yong said there was a window of opportunity after the 2008 general election when Sabah and Sarawak became the ‘kingmakers’ for the BN following its dismal show in the Peninsular.

“Never before (did) Umno need Sabah more, but still they did not listen… we said that if Umno refuses to listen to us, then it is better that we leave the BN,” he said.

So in September 2008, he said SAPP and its leaders made a sacrifice to ditch the coalition.

“A day before we declared SAPP’s vote-of-no-confidence against Abdullah Badawi, I received an offer letter for a senatorship.

“I turned it down because we don’t want positions. What we want is for the problems in Sabah to be addressed and there must be a change.

“I think we have a chance to make the changes at the election this year or next year,” he said.

Yong said during his two-year tenure as chief minister of Sabah, SAPP managed to hold a major crackdown against illegal immigrants in the Sabah with the aid of the police and army.

He said due to the comprehensive operations, many foreigners who were staying in Sabah illegally went back to their home country fearing prosecution.

He said foreign workers were also regularised and given proper documents. Migrant workers and employers more relaxed because of the move, he said, adding “this should be the way”.


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