Citizenship for illegals just opposition propaganda, says Warisan leader

Parti Warisan Sabah permanent chairman Liew Vui Keong.

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah permanent chairman Liew Vui Keong today claimed that “propaganda” on the issue of citizenship for illegal immigrants was an opposition ploy to paint the party in a bad light.

He said Warisan did not rule out efforts by the opposition to arrange for illegal immigrants to pretend to seek assistance in getting MyKads from the government.

This was part of the opposition’s tactics to win back public support following its loss in the May 9 general election, he added.

“Warisan has never been involved in helping illegal immigrants get MyKads,” he said.

“We only organised a public mobile service programme where we would go to the ground to meet the people and attend to their grouses, including the lack of basic amenities.

“The public mobile service programme should not be politicised. It is not a new thing as it was organised by the previous government as well,” he added in a statement today.

Liew said the aim of the public mobile service programme in his constituency of Batu Sapi was to forge closer ties with the people without them having to travel to his office.

He said his staff had discovered that many people were unaware of their citizenship status despite being granted permanent residence or red identity cards.

He recalled a case in which a man in his late 70s came to ask why his citizenship application had taken more than 20 years to process.

“I asked him to produce the letter written to him, and the letter in fact was just asking him to produce his late parents’ documents, which he had kept all these years.

“Because he and most of his children were illiterate, he obviously did not know what to do.

“I took his case and went to the government department, and in less than a month he got his citizenship,” Liew said, adding that this was just one example of how illiterate people were faced with many disadvantages if not assisted.

He also criticised those who took advantage of the situation by charging the poor for services.

He said he was told by one of his staff members that a shop in Sandakan had claimed to be helping him, as the Batu Sapi MP, to provide the people with type-writing services for a fee.

“My staff wanted to inquire more, but upon recognising him, the shopkeeper quickly took down the notice and destroyed it.”