A Sabah MP also says the federal government acted irresponsibly by granting foreigners in Sabah citizenship.
KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah MP today lashed out at the Umno-led federal government for irresponsibly granting foreigners residing in Sabah citizenship merely because they can speak the language and had been in the state for a number of years.
Sepangar MP Eric Majimbun, who is Sabah Progressive Party deputy president, said the ruling coalition’s real agenda in granting citizenship to foreigners was to hang on to power using their votes of gratitude.
“Granting citizenship to foreigners just because they speak Bahasa Malaysia is just not right,” Majimbun, a former chief judge of the Kota Kinabalu Native Court, told FMT today.
He was commenting on former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s comments in the media today that foreigners in Sabah are qualified to be granted citizenship as they had been staying in Malaysia for decades and spoke Bahasa Malaysia.
Mahathir, who ruled from 1981 until 2003, was quoted as saying that the granting of citizenship to foreigners in Sabah was the reason for the sudden increased of the population in this “Land Below the Wind”.
Majimbun said what Mahathir had said confirmed what Sabahans had always suspected – that the former prime minister was involved in granting citizenship to foreigners in the state though they are allegedly not qualified.
“Does this mean that all those foreigners who obtained citizenship did not have to go through the proper procedures, nor pledge loyalty to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, nor have a sense of belonging to Sabah, nor respect the culture and harmony of Sabah?” he said.
He said the case of a businessmen in Sabah who declared himself the sultan of Sulu was a clear example of non-loyalty “to our King and country”.
He also demanded to know the outcome of the court case on the businessman’s installation as sultan of Sulu.
Majimbun also pointed out that countries such as the United Kingdom and the US did not simply grant citizenship to foreigners just because they stayed there and spoke English.
“Since Merdeka on Aug 31, 1963, Sabah has always been treated as less important. Even Sabah’s ethnic population has been manipulated as shown in the 1980 census when it was lumped up as Prebumi…,” he said.
He said the solution would be for Malaysians of Sabah origin to be granted citizenship with Sabah identity card, which is different from those so-called Malaysians.
“Our generations and sovereignty must be protected,” he said.