by Nancy Lai
PENAMPANG 25/03/2013: United Pasokmomogun KadazanDusun Murut Organization (UPKO) president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok has asked for all Malaysian identity cards issued in Sabah to be recalled and re-issued to only those identified as genuine Sabahans.
This will ensure that those who are not eligible or have obtained the identification documents through dubious means will be vetted out, Dompok said at the launching of the ‘Gelombang Tataba’ (Church Assistance) yesterday.
‘Operasi Tataba’ (Church Assistance) is an exercise initiated by KadazanDusun Murut- based Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties in Sabah, namely UPKO, PBS and PBRS to provide assistance to churches in the state.
The launching ceremony by UPKO, PBS and PBRS presidents was held at Hongkod Koisaan here.
Dompok who is also Plantation Industry and Commodities Minister, said he would be proposing to the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah so that Malaysian identification cards issued so far in Sabah must be returned to the relevant authorities and new identification cards be issued to Sabahans.
“This will provide an opportunity for us in Sabah to prove the authenticity of our citizenship so that only genuine Sabahans will be issued with citizenship documents like the new identity card,” the Penampang member of parliament stressed.
When pointed out that his proposal for a new identity card for Sabahans was similar to SAPP’s suggestion that Sabah be issued a ‘Sabahan identity card’, Dompok responded by saying that he was not aware of the other proposal.
“What I am saying here is that it is very obvious that we have to take this opportunity to reset things in Sabah and as you can see, a lot of people are disturbed by the arrival of uninvited guests by way of the sea.
“I was told that there are a lot of others who have got identity cards. It is now difficult to ascertain the legality of the identification documents. I feel that the only way is to collect all these identity cards and give fresh cards so that it can settle once and for all who exactly is the citizen of this country and who are eligible to become the native of Sabah.
“I am going to propose it to the RCI. I did suggest also that all the parties in Sabah can get together to put up proposals for the federal cabinet to discuss and decide what is there to be done. My proposal is to review all the identity cards that were issued in Sabah and there is no other way to do this other than to give everybody a fresh card,” he said.
He would like to see in the future that for anybody to become a citizen in this country, their application must be made known to the public.
“It must first be like the banns of marriage; it must be advertised for objection before citizenship is granted. There must be a specific time (for objection) because a vast majority of people in this country do not even know that there have been cards issued and all of the sudden Malaysian citizens pop out from nowhere and claim their rights ot the country,” Dompok said.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan during the press conference said there was merit in Dompok’s proposal because there were many unclear issues about the state’s statistics as there were many illegal immigrants who did not have documents, had fake documents or had obtained genuine ones through dubious means.
“When we take into consideration our plans to ensure that the rakyat in Sabah are given focus, we need to know who the real Malaysians are. That is why we need to take steps to ensure that we get the true facts and details,” the PBS president stressed.
Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minster Tan Sri Joseph Kurup also agreed with Dompok that there was a need for the Royal Commission of Inquiry to look into the issuance of Malaysian identity cards in Sabah to non-eligible individuals.
“This is a very complex issue and we cannot deny that Malaysian identity cards were issued to those who do not qualify. That is why the RCI must look into this matter and ensure that the MyKads are issued through the proper process.
“The MyKad is a passport to what Sabahans are entitled to like scholarships and we do not want it to be abused by those who do not qualify,” he stressed.