KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) has never wavered from its stand that Sabah must be rid off of illegal immigrants, said its Secretary-General, Datuk Joniston Bangkuai (pic).
He said just a few weeks ago, party President, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, who is also the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs), has suggested that the issue be discussed by Sabah lawmakers via an inter-party select committee.
Bangkuai also said that in June 2020, Ongkili led a high-level PBS delegation to submit to Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin a memorandum containing suggestions to solve the illegal immigrants problem and had persistently pursued the matter.
Among the suggestions were for the Government to use the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah and “Project IC” findings as reference to deal with the long standing problem (of illegal immigrants).
Ongkili has also written a letter to the Election Commission asking it to only implement the “Undi 18” in Sabah after the State Electoral Rolls are cleared from dubious voters considering the large number of illegal immigrants in the State.
“In fact, PBS have sought a meeting with the EC chairman to discuss our concern and we are still waiting for it to materialise, despite numerous follow ups.
“Our stand on the illegal immigrants and “Project IC” issues remains, and PBS will continue to pursue a solution to the problem,” said Bangkuai, who is also Kiulu Assemblyman.
“Lest we forget the need to rid Sabah off of illegal immigrants was pioneered and was among the key issues highlighted by PBS since its formation in 1985 and the party has been very consistent on the issue,” he added.
Bangkuai was commenting on a call by former PBS Senator, Dr Chong Eng Leong for Ongkili to make his stand on the “Project IC” issue.
Bangkuai said PBS’ consistency on the issue is evident from the setting up of a special bureau on illegal immigrants, headed by a senior party leader since its formation in 1985.
The bureau is currently headed by Deputy President, Datuk Seri Radin Malleh who over the years has been among those in the forefront in highlighting the illegal immigrants issue.
Bangkuai said Ongkili’s suggestion for a bipartisan select committee is most apt as the State has ultimate power over immigration, especially now that the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is part of the Constitution following the recent amendments on Article 1(2) and Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution.
“We acknowledge the issues raised by Dr Chong Eng Leong but it is not right to say that PBS has changed its tune on ilegal immigrants issues. We were, are still, and will always be against their presence in Sabah. Sabah is for genuine Malaysians only,” he stressed.
“We hope when the inter-party select committee is formed, it will not leave any stones unturned to determine the root of this problem and come up with proper solutions,” said Bangkuai, who is also the Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister.