The Najib-regime must resolve the illegal immigrant issue in Sabah now or face the likelihood of more people joining the opposition, said Upko president Bernard Dompok.
KUCHING: Sabah’s United Pasokmomogun Kadazan Murut Organisation (Upko), which has been under the political spolight over its deputy president Wilfred Bumburing’s defection, will remain with the Barisan Nasional
Party president Bernard Dompok said that as long as the BN government under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is tackling the long standing issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah, Najib “deserves” his support.
“What we are doing in the Barisan Nasional is that the issue of the illegal immigrants (and this) is best addressed within the context of Barisan Nasional.
“Look at the issue of illegal immigrants, it has existed a long time. We have brought it up with the (past) prime ministers and Najib is the only Prime Minister who has the gut to take the bull by the horns.
“With the establishment of the royal commission of Inquiry (RCI), I think he deserves my support. Simple is that,” he told FMT.
But Dompok also cautioned Najib that the RCI must start immediately to solve the problem so that “we can have a new dawn for Sabah.”
Dompok, who is Plantation, Industries and Commodities Minister, was asked to comment on Bumburing’s resignation from the party last Sunday.
Scores of his supporters in the party had also left Upko. Bumburing had also launched a new entity Sabah Reform Front (SRF) last week to push forward his agenda.
SRF has declared itself to be aligned with the Pakatan Rakyat.
Bumburing had cited the perennial problem of illegal immigrants as his main reason of resigning from the Upko which is a component member of the Umno-controlled BN coalition.
The alleged legalisation of illegal immigrants dates back to the 1990s and is closely linked to the era of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. More than one million of Sabah’s population today is said to have been issued with MyKads.
The issue is of grave concern to genuine Sabahans because the population may very soon overshoot theirs.
‘Najib must resolve issue now’
Dompok said that the federal government must resolve the problem immediately to safeguard its integrity, failing which more people would support the opposition.
Asked whether he was happy in the Barisan Nasional, he said the party should remain with the system of ruling coalition.
“Our party is a democratic party. We discussed this issue (remaining in BN) openly in a recent meeting.
“The majority voice of the members is that we want to be within the system of Barisan Nasional and carry out what we want to do in Barisan Nasional.
“This is the decision of members of the supreme council of the party,” Dompok said.
On the impact of Bumburing’s resignation, Dompok said that it is yet to be seen.
“There is certainly some bearing on the party itself, but we will not face any operational problem. We are a party that has a lot of members.
“So what you have seen is only the reduction in membership.
“I guess they feel they want to try doing things that we are doing now in another context in another setting together with the opposition.
“I would like to stress of course that the issues of today that are brought up by the opposition are the same issues that we are addressing today.
“Of course there have been some issues that are yet to be settled. So really we are on the same page.
“We think we can pursue the issues that we have within the context of the present system of the Barisan Nasional.
“So there is a different method of how to solve the problem,” he said, adding that in a democracy, the people are free to choose any political party they want to be part of.