Opposition leaders praise Sabah govt’s move to drop migrants pass plan

Sabah opposition leaders say the government should look for a viable solution to solve the problem of illegal immigrants in the state. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah opposition leaders have welcomed the Sabah government’s decision to drop the proposed Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS).

Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin said while his thanks go to the Warisan-led government for listening to the people, he was grateful to voters in Kimanis for bringing about the decision.

“My first thank you goes to the people in Kimanis and the recent by-election because if it weren’t for them, probably the government would have proceeded with the plan.

“I also hope the government will come up with another plan to solve the illegal immigrant issue in Sabah – just because they are not going with the PSS, doesn’t mean they should stop there,” he told FMT.

Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal earlier today said the state Cabinet had agreed not to proceed with the proposed migrants pass programme following the outcome of the Kimanis by-election.

“We will propose the scrapping of the PSS to the home ministry soon. We can’t cancel it on our own because it is handled by the central government.

“We hear and see the voices of the people not only in Kimanis but also the whole of Sabah,” he told reporters.

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Maximus Ongkili said the move to scrap the PSS was a victory for Sabahans.

“The scrapping of PSS is, indeed, a victory for the people of Sabah. We have said it over and over that this proposed document is destructive to Sabah’s sovereignty, security and the people’s livelihood.

“We commend Shafie for respecting the voices of Kimanis voters, PBS and other opposition parties, as well as all Sabahans.

“We hope and pray they will honour this decision because the Pakatan Harapan-Warisan government is famous for U-turns,” said the Kota Marudu MP.

Ongkili said there were better ways to solve the problem of illegal immigrants than the PSS.

“There is a need to form a select committee in the state assembly or Parliament, and PBS elected representatives will be there to help and contribute.”

Meanwhile, Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri president Henrynus Amin described the decision to drop the PSS plan as “correct, wise and timely”.

“This would be welcomed by all Sabahans who were unhappy or rather suspicious about the motives behind the PSS,” he said.

Henrynus reminded Sabahans that the scrapping of PSS was not the end of the problem of illegal immigrants.

He lamented that a viable solution to the problem had not been found for the past 50 years due to a lack of good ideas and political will by successive state and federal governments.

He urged the government at federal and state levels to proactively seek grassroots feedback, engage civil societies, mobilise public resources on policy research and reintroduce appropriate policies to address the problem.