KOTA KINABALU: Parti Solidariti Tanahairku (STAR) fully supports Sulaman assemblyman Hajiji Noor’s concern with the state government’s “regularisation programme”to legalise the illegal immigrants in Sabah.
In a statement here, STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan said he and his party were on the same page with Hajiji on the issue of illegals and the so-called regularisation plan by the state government as it was of deep concern to the majority of Sabahans.
Kitingan said that as the people’s representative, Hajiji had the right to express this concern publicly, regardless of whether he was a member of the ruling party or not.
“After all, he is not a member of the state Cabinet. I myself have also expressed this concern many times, even in Parliament but the Sabah government keeps on adding salt to injury by making more statements and taking more steps as if to rescue the illegals.
“These are done through more suspicious actions like issuing documents to illegals and now proposing a Sabah island for them to settle in, all without listening to the concerns of the citizens,” he said.
Hajiji had said that Sabahans, particularly the indigenous community, were worried about the Sabah government’s plan to handle the illegal immigrant problem, including the latest proposal by Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal, to place illegal immigrants on islands close to the border.
Kitingan said he disagreed with the obsession of the Warisan government to give more focus to the welfare of the illegal immigrants rather than that of the genuine local Sabahans.
“The chief minister has been raising more concerns and questions from perplexed Sabahans especially when they keep being startled by the fact that the chief minister is from Semporna and so is the deputy home minister.
“Not just that, the Sabah Commissioner of Police is from Semporna, the Kota Kinabalu police chief is from Semporna and the local government minister is also from Semporna. The people are wondering if this is mere coincidence or nicely planned.
“Worse, the seemingly coordinated actions now appear to be perceived by these illegals from the southern Philippines as a strategy to legitimise and achieve their territorial claims on Sabah. And they have been well emboldened to now cry out the new slogan of “Sabah kita punya” (Sabah is ours),” he said.
Kitingan also lamented the fact that the federal government had turned a blind eye to this possible perception.
“Is the federal government so buried under the many financial and administrative problems besetting it that it can no longer act to stem the tide of this possible threat which can lead to a reverse takeover of Sabah?
“If the Sabah government is really concerned with the security and sovereignty of Sabah and the rising worries of Sabahans, it should focus on tackling this menace from illegals by taking action according to the rule of law, our constitution and immigrant laws.
“For so long now the federal and state governments have been showing themselves to have little political will to round them up and send them home.
“From their homeland the illegals can get their proper ‘regularisation’ and come back the legal way with their passports and be issued their proper work passes,” he said.