KOTA KINABALU: Sabah PPBM coordinator Hajiji Noor has defended his remarks on the state government’s approach to illegal immigrants, after criticism from Deputy Home Minister Azis Jamman who labelled him as part of the opposition over his comments.
“What I said are the concerns of the people of Sabah,” he said, referring to a speech which has been making the rounds on social media.
“As a people’s representative, I convey the feelings of the people who are unhappy with some of the government’s approaches or suggestions to address the illegal immigrant problem.”
He said the indigenous people, especially, are concerned over how the matter is being handled by the Warisan-led government, citing the announcement on a regularisation programme for stateless people, and the latest suggestion by Chief Minister Shafie Apdal for illegal immigrants to be placed on a border island.
Hajiji, the former local government and housing minister, said he had observed on social media many foreigners flocking to the offices of oath commissioners, including in Tuaran, to verify their documents for such programmes.
“Many people are concerned about this, and have even lodged police reports because they are worried about the presence of so many foreigners.
“What I said was not an attack on the Warisan-led state government, as charged by Azis. The state government should not be concerned with such matters as I am only expressing the hearts and minds of the grassroots,” he said in a statement.
He added that any government policy which receives negative feedback from the people over fears that it may erode the rights of citizens and indigenous peoples should be discontinued.
“Why should the state government feel offended if it is not true?” he added.
He urged the administration to focus on developing the economy and state instead of matters such as preparing an island for illegal immigrants or giving documents to them.