PAPAR: Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin stated today that the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) being played up by the opposition was the brainchild of the previous Barisan Nasional government.
Muhyiddin said the BN government had discussed and agreed to implement the PSS, then known as the Pas Residen Sabah (PRESS), but couldn’t do so because it did not win in the last general election.
He said the opposition had been harping on the issue, particularly during the Kimanis by-election campaign, claiming that the PSS was a way towards granting citizenship to illegal immigrants.
“This has nothing to do with citizenship but the immigration law. This is about the safety and security of Sabahans.
“Don’t politicise this matter; it shouldn’t be made an issue.
“They are saying that if you vote for Warisan, you support illegal immigrants.
“I think this is not correct as the intention is genuine,” he told reporters after an event with Rela members here today.
The home ministry recently issued a statement maintaining the issuance of PSS does not amount to granting citizenship but is meant to standardise the various documents held by foreigners in Sabah.
These included the IMM13, Kad Burung Burung and census certificates held by foreigners in the state.
Muhyiddin sad the idea for the PRESS was agreed to by a foreigners’ management central committee on July 31, 2015, chaired by the former state secretary.
It was subsequently agreed to at a meeting on Feb 15, 2016, jointly chaired by the then home ministry secretary-general and the Sabah state secretary.
“The proposal was tabled to the state’s foreigner management committee on May 16 the same year.
“This meeting was chaired by former deputy prime minister and home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the former Sabah chief minister.
“So the idea to standardise the usage of these three types of documents was born even before the present administration,” Muhyiddin said.
He said being a responsible government, the new state administration decided to go ahead with the plan but with further improvements.
“Zahid did not get to decide on its implementation. But the intention was there and they lost in the general election.”
Muhyiddin dismissed former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s attempt to relate the PSS with the Lahad Datu incursion in 2013.
He said it was illogical to link the two, adding Hishammuddin had run out of ideas.
“The Lahad Datu case is a security issue, which we are still handling. Some cases are still in court.
“What we are discussing now is about those who have been here for generations but without proper documents.
“Please don’t twist the issue,” Muhyiddin said.
Hishammuddin, during a ceramah last night, warned of the danger of giving the PSS to migrants, citing the Lahad Datu incursion in 2013 as a prime example.
He said the PSS was related to matters of national security and that Sabah’s security would be in jeopardy if it was not implemented properly.