KOTA KINABALU: About 100 people gathered peacefully for a “Black Sunday” sit-in protest here today to demand a stop to the proposed implementation of the Temporary Sabah Pass (PSS) by Putrajaya.
Rain did not dampen the spirits of the protesters, who called themselves Dayaks and chanted anti-illegal immigrant slogans.
Several had gathered hours before the event at Lintasan Deasoka near Gaya Street, which started at 10am. Keeping an eye were police personnel, including a team from the Light Strike Force.
The protest was organised by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and attended by party president Yong Teck Lee, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Jeffrey Kitingan and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) information chief Joniston Bangkuai.
Kitingan said Putrajaya should revert PSS to its original name, Temporary Resident Pass, and give its holders a one-year renewal period instead of three years.
“We also propose that the pass be given only to the Surat Burung-Burung and Census letter holders, not the IMM13 who had arrived in Sabah as refugees in the 1970s.
“Holders of the IMM13 are already documented and their numbers are shrinking and eventually, there will be no more of them in Sabah,” he said.
The home ministry plans to issue the PSS to 133,055 holders of the IMM13, Surat Burung-Burung and census letter, but Kitingan said if the IMM13 holders are excluded, the number will not exceed 100,000.
Yong hit out at deputy home minister and Sepanggar MP Azis Jamman for questioning the purpose of the “Black Sunday” protest, and accused him of appearing to be more interested in legitimising the illegal immigrants in Sabah.
“Instead of adhering to the country’s immigration laws, he is more focused on documenting and legitimising the immigrants’ stay in Sabah.
“He also offered illegals to stay on a Sabah island, proposed to legitimise illegal squatters in the state, and offered three-year renewal of the PSS although, as deputy home minister, one of his duties should be to ensure there are no illegal immigrants in Sabah.
“Instead of curbing the entry of illegal immigrants into the state, he is encouraging more to come,” he said.
Yong also said it was not true that the PSS had been proposed as one of the programmes to resolve Sabah’s migrant problems at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants established by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
He said the RCI report did not mention the PSS or its original name, Temporary Resident Pass.
“I had to go to the office today just to double-check whether there had been a suggestion for the Temporary Resident Pass. Azis should tell me which page or chapter the pass proposal was made in the RCI,” he said.
Joniston said Putrajaya should first exhaust all avenues to deport the illegal immigrants to their country of origin.
He said hundreds of migrants were deported between 2002 and 2003, and the move by the state’s leaders was still remembered, supported and lauded by Sabahans until today.
The protest ended at about 10.30am. Kota Kinabalu police chief Habibi Majinji said no incident was reported.