KOTA KINABALU 19th July, 2011: It is premature for former Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh to preempt on the Federal Cabinet decision on whether to establish or not a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to Investigate the existence of Illegal Immigrants holding dubious identity cards obtained by way of “Project IC”, said United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO).
In responding to Harris’ statement published on Sunday on the said matter, Upko secretary general Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau explained that this was because the Federal Cabinet has not deliberated on the requests by various parties on the RCI.
He added that although the Home Minister has made his opinion known on the matter to the media but the fact remains that Federal Cabinet has not deliberated on it.
“Given a proper perspective to this particular ‘national problem’, we are confident that many fellow BN component party leaders will seriously consider giving positive support to this proposal.
“This matter is no longer a mere issue for a public debate, rather this is a matter of public interest affecting sovereignty that merit resolutions at the highest level,” said Tangau in a statement yesterday.
He also disagreed with Harris for saying that the views written by Paul Raffaele in the book “Harris Salleh of Sabah” were the opinions and version of the writer.
“Clearly, the views belong to Harris and Paul the writer was simply writing what he recorded from statements made by Harris himself,” he said.
He cited for example, on Para 1, page 426 of the book, Harris made the following statement:
“Already in Kudat, a PBS area now, over 3,000 Filipinos have their IC s, and, when they are registered to vote, the assembly seat there will be USNO’s for the rest of this century at least. The same pattern could be repeated all over Sabah so that the Kadazans become a small minority….”
“This statement is not refuted and certainly it is not an opinion or a version of the writer but a statement of Harris himself,” he contended.
“Now 26 years later after he made that statement, Harris now estimated that 90 per cent of the people of Sabah are migrants!
“Is he saying that whatever he has said pertaining to the making of illegal migrants into a citizen in the book was truly carried out? Is that the reason why the population rate of growth of Sabah is more than 500 per cent?” he asked.
Tangau also fully agreed with Dr. Chong Eng Leong’s statement that Harris must clear his name for being implicated in the book by MD Mutalib “IC Projek – Agenda Tersembunyi Mahathir”.
“Upko welcome Harris’ readiness to testify in the yet to be established RCI,” he added.
He further stressed that it is of paramount importance for all quarters to accept and understand that only a RCI could provide a lasting solution to the “Mother of all Problems” in Sabah – the existence of thousands and thousands of illegal migrants with dubious IC.
He thus on behalf of Upko declined Harris’s suggestion for the party to conduct its own inquiry concerning ICs, stressing that RCIremains the most effective way of resolving this matter once and for all.
“We are all for a common view on pertinent issues especially amongst component parties of the BN. There are ways and means to achieve this including having a loose confederation as suggested by PBS secretary general Datuk Henrynus Amin and Upko welcome this idea. We should immediately work on the mechanism,” he said.