KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Jeffrey Kitingan today accused the Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) leaders in Warisan and Upko of betraying their own community in the illegal immigrant issue in Sabah.
This comes a day after the Keningau MP and STAR president urged leaders from the state government to work with him to resolve the problem in the state.
“The KDM leaders in Warisan and Upko have clearly sold out their own people because of the priority treatment of illegal immigrants in Sabah, compared to genuine Sabahans, especially the natives.
“This is judging from their responses to my statement on holding a forum to find the way forward in the issue in Malaysia, particularly in Sabah,” he said in a statement here today.
Jeffrey yesterday urged Sabah leaders to work with him and the federal government to solve the long-standing illegal immigrant issue instead of picking a fight with him.
He said the state government should welcome the resolve of the Perikatan Nasional administration to effectively address the problem nationwide.
State coalition leaders had earlier hit out at Jeffrey for suggesting the current Sabah government was the cause of the influx of illegals into the state.
Warisan secretary-general Loretto Padua had questioned whether Jeffrey had forgotten when the illegal immigrant problem started, accusing him of politicising the issue.
The party’s treasurer-general, Terrence Siambun, meanwhile criticised Jeffrey’s plans to organise the forum, saying many had been held before and that now was a time for action, not further discussions.
Jeffrey contended the leaders’ remarks clearly showed their preference towards what he called the current state government’s friendly policy towards illegal immigrants.
“The forum is now more necessary to get things done and resolve the problem, be it in Sabah or in the peninsula.
“Nothing satisfactory was done by past governments, whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Harapan, on the problem in Sabah.
“During PH’s reign, Warisan had three full ministers and two deputy ministers, including one in the home ministry. Not only did they do nothing, they worsened the problem.”
Jeffrey said Sabah should emulate Putrajaya’s new attitude towards solving the migrant issue, which included the Rohingya and Bangladeshis.
“Otherwise, over time, Sabah will end up being taken over by foreigners,” he said, adding Malaysia and Sabah needed to have better control of their borders.
“What better time than now since I am now in the federal government.”
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