March 29, 2012: ILLEGAL immigrant issues once again dominated the State Assembly sitting as representatives, both from the government and opposition, took turn to highlight the urgent need to set up the proposed Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to probe and address the problem.
Matunggong (BN) assemblyman Sarapin Magana in his debate said Sabah Barisan Nasional component parties were unanimous in calling for the setting up of the commission to allow for a comprehensive solution to the long outstanding issue.
He added it was now in the hands of the federal government to answer that call and expedite the formation of the RCI.
Datuk Teo Chee Kang (BN-Tanjung Kapor) meanwhile said the proposed RCI must materialise and the terms of reference, which had yet to be decided, must be expedited so as not to let the opposition take advantage of the delay to accuse the government of being insincere in resolving the issue.
Admittedly he said many illegal immigrants had managed to acquire genuine Malaysian citizenship, posing a threat to the rights of the native Bumiputeras.
“If the sudden increase in Sabah population in the last three decades was indeed caused by this, then it is very worrying.
“With one voice, all political parties in Sabah, including BN components and the opposition, have made their stand that the setting up of RCI is needed,” he said.
Melanie Chia Chui Ket (SAPP-Luyang) said it was regrettable that the central leadership in Kuala Lumpur continued to kept quiet on the RCI issue as if it was too trivial and insignificant to be tended to.
She inquired if the state government planned to follow up on its request and whether the commission would materialise before the coming election.
Another female representative, Anita Baranting (BN-Tandek), said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak did not make an official announcement on RCI during his visit to Sabah last month as the matter involved many laws and agencies.
However, she said the people of Sabah, despite continuous misleading statements from the opposition on the issue, were confident the Prime Minister would make the long awaited announcement when the time came, most likely during the parliamentary session in mid-April.
She expressed confidence that the setting up of the RCI would bring an end to the problem that had been plaguing Sabah for the last 40 years.