KOTA KINABALU, Nov 30 ― Fed up with apparent inaction from the technical committee in charge of resolving Sabah’s illegal immigrant issues, opposition leader Darell Leiking proposed that the secretariat be headed by people who can give it the attention and focus it deserves.
The Parti Warisan Sabah deputy president said that putting two state Barisan Nasional political leaders ― Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan ― in charge of the main and technical committee respectively was unwise considering both were busy with governing Sabah.
“If the secretariat been chaired by young leaders, then the studies would have been completed within a few months considering that almost everyone had the documents, testimonials, suggestions and recommendations from the start of the inquiry.
“The two committees should have been chaired by young impartial leaders in the State irrespective of whether they are from the BN component parties, head of government departments or even NGOs," he said.
The Penampang MP said the mistake started by appointing Musa, whom he described as the "busiest individual in the state, and Pairin who “may not have the same vigor and energy as he did in the 1980's.”
The two committees were formed shortly after the report from a Royal Commission of Inquiry on Sabah’s illegal immigrant issues was released to the public on December 3, 2014.
Musa was to co-chair the main permanent committee with Home minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi while Pairin, as the head of the technical committee, tasked with compiling feedback and recommendations from the public and other groups to propose to the main committee.
Leiking said he was perplexed why both accepted the posts when they knew that it would be very hard for them to commit to such an important task.
"While many alleged that the secretariat is merely a ruse to the advantage of the BN in Sabah by dragging the issue to yet another election year, I sincerely refuse to believe so,” he said, adding that the secretariat was a good idea provided it was transparent and efficient.
Leiking is among several who have complained of the seemingly slow progress in coming out with the long awaited recommendations as solution to the presence of illegal immigrants in the State.
Pairin was recently quoted as saying they would submit an edited version of the report to the main committee “as soon as possible” after they had to take into account action that was currently being taken to address the issue of illegal immigrants in the state.
Among the recommendations is a move to recall and reissue Malaysian MyKads to Sabahans in a filtering exercise to weed out fake or dubiously issued MyKads.
Leiking further proposed that the report by the technical committee ought to be submitted to the state assembly for perusal and debate, in the interest of transparency.
"This is in view that the Parliament is reluctant to debate on the two year long delayed solution pursuant to the RCI Inquiry report,” he said.
He said that the State Assembly should also move to demand the Philippines to drop their claim over Sabah and this should include stopping the cessation payment.
“I believe that once the claim has been dropped, the next step is to recall the Sabah ICs and use the State powers which records births and deaths to also issue Sabah's very own identity card to all Sabahans," he said.