KOTA KINABALU: The actions and statements of government ministers so far show their apparent intention to let illegal migrants stay in Sabah, a former Sabah chief minister said.
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee said he believed the government would continue with a new formula after the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) had been scrapped due to opposition.
“There is growing public concern that the PSS will be replaced by another tacit and quiet practice of citizenship issuance,” said Yong, pointing to the notorious “Projek IC” during Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s first stint as prime minister.
“Projek IC” or “Projek M” is the name used to describe allegations that citizenship was granted to illegal immigrants in Sabah to alter the demographic pattern of the state to make it favourable for the ruling party in the 1990s.
Yong said ministers had recently attacked the opposition and activists for opposing PSS and that Deputy Home Minister Azis Jamman had even “given the excuse” that the Philippines government had refused to accept back its citizens.
He said these actions and statements showed a consistent pattern that the government had no intention of sending the illegal immigrants back to their countries of origin.
“So, how is it that suddenly all those justifications and reasons for the PSS are forgotten now? Or, is another plan such as Project IC 2.0 being cooked up?” asked Yong, adding that the government needed to give further assurance that it would not grant citizenship to the illegal immigrants in Sabah.
The Warisan-led Sabah government had announced it would not implement the controversial PSS following the party’s defeat in the Kimanis by-election on Jan 18.
The opposition parties had used the PSS issue, alleging it was an attempt by the ruling Warisan-Pakatan Harapan-Upko coalition to provide MyKad to migrants in Sabah.
Previously, the home ministry had planned to distribute 136,055 PSS to the IMM13, Surat Burung-Burung and the Census Certificate holders presently living in Sabah.