Why so jittery over ‘citizenship drive’, opposition asks Warisan

Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku chief Jeffrey Kitingan.

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) chief Jeffrey Kitingan told Warisan to stop blaming the previous administration for the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah.

Responding to statements issued by Warisan secretary-general Loretto Padua Jr and youth chief Azis Jamman, Kitingan said nobody was denying that the issue of illegal immigrants had been a protracted problem.

“However, to simply point fingers at one person, namely former chief minister Musa Aman, is a cheap shot.

“Both of these Warisan leaders’ unfounded allegations on Musa’s involvement in Project IC is based on one man’s perspective published in one book.

“But was it a conclusive study? Was Musa ever found guilty of such conduct? Did the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants prove Musa’s involvement?

“In fact, during the RCI, there were repeated testimonies that there were syndicates selling dubious MyKads to illegal immigrants,” he said when contacted today.

Besides, Kitingan said, he was confused why two of Warisan’s leaders found it necessary to issue two lengthy statements on the matter.

Such action, he said, gave the impression that the party is being jittery and defensive even after it had denied any involvement in any citizenship drive.

Yesterday, Sabahans were shocked when photos of what looked like the National Registration Department (Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara or JPN) forms, but emblazoned with the Warisan logo, made the rounds on social media.

NRD immediately issued an official statement, clarifying that the forms were not official forms and there is no such “citizenship drive” going on in Sabah at the moment.

Kitingan, who is also Keningau MP and Tambunan assemblyman, said he was not surprised that the public was immediately taken in by simply looking at the fake forms, given the “gentle way” Warisan was dealing with illegal immigrants.

“I, like many, wish to ask whether under Musa’s administration, there were spates of squatter fires breaking out throughout Sabah over a short period of time?

“During the former administration, were there rampant stories of mobile JPN trucks appearing soon after these fires, during which, strangely enough, not a single casualty was ever reported?”

Furthermore, he said during the previous administration, it was not normal to encounter postings of photos and videos on social media alluding to documentation being granted to illegal immigrants.

Additionally, Kitingan said the previous government never suggested setting up a colony for illegal immigrants on a border island.

“Where there is smoke, there is fire. Hence, one cannot blame the public perception that when it comes to illegal immigrants, Warisan treats them ‘gently’.

“Regardless of whether the logo on the JPN form is fake or not, suspicion on the documentation exercise for illegal immigrants runs high among Sabahans.

“We have heard stories of such exercises being conducted in Telipok Ria, where there is a large population of illegal immigrants in the resettlement area.

“If Warisan wants to counter allegations of their involvement in documenting illegals, they should be more robust in their efforts to flush out illegals,” he said.

Yesterday, Kalabakan Warisan youth lodged a police report against a person who posted the photos on social media, drawing flak from netizens who said the party should have lodged a report against the individuals who distributed the forms instead of “shooting the messenger”.