KOTA KINABALU: Former deputy home minister Azis Jamman took a swipe at political leaders who vehemently opposed the Pas Sementara Sabah (PSS, or Temporary Sabah Pass), but were now singing a different tune in supporting the use of the IMM13 document instead.
The Warisan Youth chief told FMT that leaders like Sabah STAR chief Jeffrey Kitingan should instead continue to apply pressure on Putrajaya, the same way they had done during Pakatan Harapan’s rule, to send Filipino refugees and the stateless home.
He said it was Jeffrey and several other leaders who had called for this to take advantage of the prevailing peace in the Philippines at present.
Azis dared Jeffrey to press Putrajaya and the Perikatan Nasional government, of which he is aligned to, to waste no time by replacing all the documents with the IMM13.
He said Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin can then make sure the Philippine government recognises its nationals who have been staying so long in Sabah and issue passports for them.
“But if it’s true that the Philippines will accept them back, why give them IMM13 in the first place? Just give them passports without delay,” he said today.
The PSS was introduced under the Pakatan Harapan government as the single document for 136,055 holders to replace their IMM13, Surat Burung-Burung and Census Certificate.
These are largely Filipino refugees who fled the unrest in the southern Philippines in the 1970s. Many of their descendants have been staying in Sabah for four generations, expanding their numbers four-fold by now.
Jeffrey and PBS leader Maximus Ongkili, who were among Sabah opposition leaders who had opposed the PSS, have already expressed support for the home minister’s plans to use the IMM13 to replace all the existing documents.
Hamzah said this change will be carried out in stages, starting first with the first generation.
Azis questioned Hamzah on how the IMM13 mechanism would work.
“Will it be renewed every five years or three years like the PSS? How many times can it be renewed?
“Jeffrey previously opposed the PSS, describing the PH move to have unlimited number of renewals as the same as allowing these migrants to stay in Sabah forever,” he said.
Azis also challenged movements, such as the “Black Sunday” group, which had organised several sit-in protests against the PSS previously, to express their views on this new initiative by the PN government.
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