The federal government is not sincere in wanting to root out the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah, says the DAP.
He said this when commenting on the federal Cabinet’s decision to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah, following mounting pressure from the public.
“I do not think there is another Cabinet decision in the 54-year history of the nation which has commanded lower public esteem, trust and credibility,” he said at a “meet-the-people” session organised by DAP Sabah in Penampang on Sunday.
“If an opinion poll is conducted in Sabah, the overwhelming majority of the people would have given the opinion that the Barisan Nasional is not serious in wanting to root out the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah but only to give the false impression that something is being done to address the problem in order to lure Sabah voters in the next general election,” he said.
He mocked the government for making history by calling for a RCI when it was afraid of what it might uncover and as such, was delaying setting it up.
“This is most dishonourable and disgraceful,” he said.
Lim said Sabahans should not be surprised by such an “indifferent, nonchalant and dishonest treatment” of the illegal immigrant problem by Barisan Nasional considering the history of Umno on the issue, particularly the disgraceful episode of “Project Mahathir” in the early 1990s.
He said the recent statement by a top Special Branch officer had cast grave doubts on the sincerity of the federal government on this issue.
Special Branch officer, Mohd Sofian Mohd Makin, the assistant director of the E2 (M) National Social Extremist Threat Division head, raised eyebrows when he alleged that the opposition was being infiltrated by Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terrorists and communists.
Sofian told the press that advocates of RCI on illegal immigrants in Sabah were anti-national elements who only wanted to extract political capital from the issue, undermine diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the Philippines and incite anti-peninsular sentiments among Sabahans.
“The Prime Minister [Najib Tun Razak] should declare whether Sofian represents the secret but mainstream and official thinking of the Umno-BN federal government on the issue of RCI on illegal immigrants in Sabah.
“And if not, whether immediate action would be taken to suspend and discipline Sofian as he has become the worst example of a ‘national social extremist threat’ his division in the Special Branch is supposed to be monitoring,” said Lim.
Besides this, he also urged Sabahans to learn from the past political lesson – that without political change in Putrajaya at the national level, it is very difficult to effect meaningful changes at the state level.
“Sabah has changed the state government four times in the past five decades, but things have got from bad to worse for the people – whether on illegal immigrants who have reduced the genuine sons and daughters of Sabah into foreigners and strangers in their own land in less than half a century, or just basic amenities and infrastructures for the people of Sabah.
“This is why Sabah DAP has coined the slogan: ‘Save Sabah Save Malaysia’, because firstly, Sabah cannot be saved without saving Malaysia; and secondly, if Malaysia is to be saved, Sabah must also be saved,” he said.
He also noted that during his recent tour of Sabah with the various Sabah DAPleaders, Sabahans, like their compatriots in the rest of Malaysia, are impatiently waiting for the 13th general election to see fundamental political and economic changes in the state and country.