Archive for the ‘Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegals in Sabah’ Category

A total of 372 undocumented migrants from the Philippines were repatriated to Zamboanga by ferry from Sandakan yesterday.

Sabah National Security Council director Rodzi Md Saad said the repatriated individuals were all males, aged between six and 62 years old and they were previously detained at Kota Kinabalu temporary detention centre, he said in a statement today. Since Nov 15, a total 3,765 Filipinos were deported by ferry, he said.

From Jan 1, this year until today, a total of 22,213 Filipinos, Indonesians and other nationalities were deported to their respective countries.

He also said since 1990 until today, as many as 552,154 undocumented migrants have been repatriated and returned voluntarily to their countries from Sabah.

According to Rodzi the repatriation efforts of the illegals are in line with the government’s commitment to continue to root out illegal immigrants from Sabah.

– Bernama

(A Facebook picture shows Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri being served turtle eggs allegedly at the Restoran Indah Keranamu in Sandakan which went viral)

Media has always been a significant pillar of society. Media doesn’t just report happenings, it also builds public opinion. This puts the media in a powerful position in a democracy and wherever there is power there is a chance of misuse of that power.

In some countries, powerful media houses are said to have influenced election results by portraying people and events a certain way. In Malaysia too.

The media space has changed a lot with the emergence of social media. With social media, the public has eyes and ears everywhere. They are not limited to camera crews of a few TV channels or reporters of a few newspapers.

Social media is a platform that showcases public opinion such that it cannot be easily doctored. It reflects the pulse of society. Even traditional media channels keep an eye on ongoing social media trends.

In the recent past, we have seen so many top news stories originate from social media. Apart from highlighting issues that are socially relevant and crucial, social media has also exposed the disconnect between the government and the population. People are more aware of what our leaders are up to and exchange notes on how laws and policies affecting them are being made. Gone are the days when the government could pass laws behind closed doors without the public realising it for months. Thanks to the social media, discussion on political issues and implications is widespread and immediate.

Some politicians thrive on keeping communities apart and playing one’s interests over the other to secure their votebanks. As boundaries between people blur over social media, and they become more aware and better informed, this will no longer be easy to do. One needs to be more aware and alert while making speeches or statements. People see through any gimmick done with an ulterior motive and any sign of a narrow mindset comes in for severe criticism, just like the ‘kafir harbi’ issue.

Like all powerful tools, social media should also be used with utmost care and responsibility failing which it can cause damage to the society. In the recent terror attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport in Turkey, terrorists used social media widely to plan and execute their attacks, 42 people were killed and injured hundreds of others. More recently, in Sabah, The Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA), headed by Huguan Siou Joseph Pairin Kitingan had to lodge a police report against the “Majlis Himpunan Rakyat Membantah Penarikan MyKad” (Council of the Gathering of Citizens to Protest the Withdrawal of the MyKad) which was planing to hold an anti-RCI event in Kota Kinabalu on May 31, a poster on the event circulating in social media went viral, social media was used to spread panic and fear among Sabahans leading to the police report.

However, with its potential to bring people together, social media also holds immense promise as a tool for social change. We have recently seen many successfully executed protests organised over social media that have made the right impact,like Bersih the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, for the first time, the act of mass civil disobedience ran for 34 hours in Kuala Lumpur. Another application of social media could be to effectively utilize the vast diversity of human resource that Sabah has which is still lying untapped. For instance, in my SIB (Sidang Injil Borneo) church, somebody announces a dental camp in a locality on a date and others join, including doctors, dentist, dental nurses and even pharmacist. Likewise, somebody announces a tree planting drive or a cleaning drive and people support the initiative with their time or resources.

We are clearly passing through a phase of transformation. Sabah is a nation of youth who have a big role to play in that transformation.

Social media is a medium that connects them and gives them voice. This voice is growing louder. It is a welcome sign and I’m really glad Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman has embrace the social media in a big way and he is very active on Facebook and Twitter and WhatsApp groups, and he regularly updates events and photos.

Several unique characteristics go along with the name of Musa Aman. In him, Sabah has had a three-dimensional leader: a statesman par excellence, an astute businessman banker and a thinker with the courage of conviction.

Musa was a successful businessman/banker long before he entered politics but all his life he had strived to make everything he touched more value oriented. He had an inimitable style of winning hearts. He has several friends with views diametrically opposite his, but that has never come between him and them when it comes to frank sharing of ideas and feelings. Rarely does one find a leader with such a fine blend of toughness and tenderness.

Musa has contributed to Sabah polity in multiple ways. He remains the epitome of alternate political thought and functionality. He personifies patriotism. If attributes such as informality in interpersonal relationships, spirit of accommodation, respect for the opposite viewpoint, a complete non-compromising approach towards politics of hate and injustice, etc. are still to be found in present day politics, Musa – among others – deserves credit. His most important contribution is strengthening Sabah democracy. When power politics sounded extremely monopolistic and people wondered if the element of choice had completely vanished from Sabah polity, he didn’t need words to send the message “Boleh Bah Kalau Sabah” to the people with all the strength at his command.

He remains the first genuine leader, the first truly Sabah chief minister who managed to convince Putrajaya to have a Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants and address Sabah’s Mother of All Problems – “Illegal Immigrants”. He also remains one of the first politician from East Malaysia who is working quietly with the Prime Minister to get an equity in Petronas for Sabah state apart from the oil and gas royalty of five per cent. And for his effort so far Sabah has gotten a 10 per cent stake in Petronas LNG Train 9 Sdn Bhd in Bintulu, Sarawak, which would generate additional revenue to the state and its people. Speaking at the investiture ceremony in conjunction with the 61st birthday of Head of State Tun Juhar recently, Musa Aman said ” Our commitments does not end here. Instead we will continue to double our efforts by working together with the Federal Government to mobilise various programmes to further raise the social status of the people and life quality.”

When Musa took over as chief minister, Sabah was literally on the threshold of the 21st century. And it was a new, young and assertive Sabah with surging aspirations, contrary to the old status quo-ist elements who were in denial. Musa recognised these burgeoning aspirations, and successfully struck a balance without compromising on Sabah’s fundamental values. His regime witnessed the stabilisation of the new economy, and he created an appetite for development-oriented governance.

In ensuring the success and excellence of the public delivery system, Musa pledged to provide good governance. He said, “Our first commitment to the people is to give a stable, honest, transparent and efficient government capable of accomplishing all-round development. For this, the government shall introduce time-bound program of needed administrative reforms, including those for the civil services”. Musa not only strengthened old bridges, he also tried to create new ones to overcome the distances between different social groups, districts and economic strata. His Midas touch impacted every sector of governance. His programmes and policies demonstrated his commitment to a strong and self-reliant Sabah, prepared to meet the challenges of the coming decade.

To make Sabah an economic power in the 21st century, he transformed the economic policy framework. Sectors like public sector enterprises, agricultural produce marketing, small-scale industries, urban land ceilings, highways, rural roads, elementary education, ports, electricity, communal land titles, oil and gas were all subject to far-reaching reforms and raised Sabah’s power graph in Malaysia. Sabah continue to be sought after by foreign investors, especially in the manufacturing sector. Last year Sabah received RM2.4 billion from local investors and RM1 billion was injected by foreign investors. Since the launch of the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) in 2008 until August 2014, RM135 billion worth of cumulative investments have been planned and committed, out of which, RM45 billion have been realised.

The State Government has even implemented various programmes for the development of the people such as the Prosperous Mini Estates (Mesej), 1Azam, Local Economy Enhancement, Agropolitan Project and Housing Aid Programme as well as the Prosperous Village Programme. These programs aim to transform selected villages holistically by involving three main aspects, namely the development of human capital, economic progress and improvement in the quality of life.

On the forest front, Musa’s commitment to increase the Sabah’s total protected area must be appreciated as his role for making things happen, without whose support, the translation of policies into actions would not have come about. Today Sabah’s Total Protected Areas (TPAs) of 1,553,262 hectares or about 21 per cent of the State’s total land area is arguably the largest in Malaysia. This percentage has exceeded the original IUCN (International Union of The Convention of Nature) target of 10 per cent and even CBD’s (Convention on Biological Diversity) 17 per cent of various types of ecosystems. What is more important is that, TPAs of Sabah cover a wide range of ecosystems including : pristine lowland forests, pristine highland forests, montane forests, freshwater wet lands, mangrove swamps, peat lands, regenerating lowland Dipterocarp forests and Heath (Kerangas) forests, amongst others. Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon, have additional buffers for reinforced protection and dedicated wildlife corridors to address connectivity and fragmentation. All these possible because of Musa Aman.

Musa has launched to date many ambitious projects: highways to connect to Sarawak, Kalimantan and Brunei along with other towns like Tenom to Sipitang, and to every kampong by road. These projects also revolutionised the real estate sector, commerce and the rural economy. The improved road connectivity further integrated the state through a network of world-class highways, which puts Sabah on the fast lane to socio-economic development. This is indeed, the highway to prosperity!

Musa as the Sabah Security Chief encompassing governance doctrine is also seen in his strategic vision in regards to Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), a security area that stretches 1,733.7km along the east coast of Sabah, from Kudat to Tawau. Esscom was established on April 1, 2013, following the Sulu intrusion in Tanduo, Lahad Datu. With the setting up of Esscom and its restructuring last July 17, cases of cross border crimes in the Esszone have become less rampant. Efficient and effective mechanisms have been introduced such as curfew, and integrated operations which are ongoing. The establishment of the Esscom, re-evaluation of Sabah’s decades old illegal immigrants problem, economic diplomacy, and engagement with the Manila has re-written Sabah’s strategic governance system.

Under Musa Aman, Sabah has become a powerhouse of growth and had emerged as an important contributor to Malaysia’s development journey. Under his able leadership Sabah became known for its quality infrastructure and excellent financial management. Musa Aman’s governance in Sabah saw a government that listened to the people and one that built its success through equal economic growth in all sectors. Through innovation and emphasis on detail he brought in record investment that benefited people of Sabah and drew people from all over Malaysia to work in Sabah and make a living.

The Sabah State Cabinet wants the relevant authorities to take drastic action to resolve once and for all the issue of illegal immigrants in the state, after the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) blamed “corrupt officials” and illegal syndicates for the state’s burgeoning foreigner population.

Chief Minister Musa Aman said the State Cabinet, with consensus, welcomed the release of the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah and supported the recommendations made to resolve the issue.

“THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNDER PRIME MINISTER DATO SRI NAJIB TUN RAZAK HAS FULFILLED ITS PROMISE ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE RCI AND TO RELEASE ITS FINDINGS,” he said after being briefed on the RCI findings and recommendations at the weekly State Cabinet meeting today.

He said these findings have been released by an independent panel that has heard and scrutinised the testimonies of multiple witnesses.

Musa said based on these findings, it was discovered that there were wrongdoings committed by individuals for monetary gain.

“These grievous acts were committed by irresponsible individuals who were greedy and they have been brought before the law for their crimes,” he said.

In moving forward post-RCI, he said it was important for concrete measures to be taken to ensure that these acts do not recur and any efforts by any syndicates that could undermine the sovereignty of this nation must be dismantled and face the long arm of the law.

He said the State Cabinet therefore welcomed the recommendations to set up a PERMANENT COMMITTEE on Foreigners to be co chaired by Home Affairs Minister, Datuk Zahid Hamidi and himself as well as a Working Committee on Foreigners to be chaired by Deputy Chief Minister, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

“We also call on relevant Departments and agencies to overcome any weaknesses and tighten any loopholes within their respective structures to maintain the integrity of their respective governmental functions and the ultimate objective, which is serving the people,” he said.

In the meantime, he said the State Government would continue to work hand in hand with the Federal Government to overcome issues dealing with illegal immigrants in the state.

He said the relevant authorities such as Police, National Registration department and the Immigration Department are working closely through statewide operations such as Ops Bersepadu to flush out illegal immigrants in the state.

“It is also my hope that our counterparts in our neighboring countries will assist us in this effort by facilitating the return of their citizens to their respective countries,” he said.

Hello everybody!

It’s here!! The final stretch for our Kickstarter campaign. There are only 7 more days to go before the campaign ends!! With still more than half way to go to reach our goal I implore you to rally those around you, friends, family, colleagues, somewhat friendly acquaintances, anybody you can get to please help support our film. We really want this film to reach an audience and to do that we need every single pledge we can get. The issue of stateless people in Sabah is one that directly affects Sabah’s socio-economic landscape and the growing population of stateless individuals is one of the bigger problems that has been plaguing Sabah. It is high-time this issue was addressed and awareness on the human implications of the situation cultivated.

As promised we have prepared a clip from the film that showcases the opinions of various knowledgeable sources on the dilemma. I hope you enjoy the video and you have not yet pledged please pledge any amount you can so we can get this film out to the public.

Many thanks,



Di Ambang: Stateless in Sabah

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman has denied any involvement in Project IC as alleged by former senator and state assemblyman Dr Chong Eng Leong during the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah last week. In fact, Musa was the man responsible for convincing Premier Najib Tun Razak to have the RCI on illegal immigrants in Sabah even though many in UMNO, including Shafie Apdal, were dead against the formation of the RCI.

Anyway, Former Sabah state Attorney-General Datuk Anthony Roderick Fernandez appeared on behalf of Musa at the High Court in Kota Kinabalu today and made a request to the five-men panel for Dr Chong’s official note of proceeding last week.

“My client will decide on his next course of action once he has read the report,” Anthony told the panel, saying Musa might also elect to appear before the RCI panel and give his testimony.

Dr Chong had alleged Musa had led a Sabah Umno task force to find foreigners to register them as party members and to ensure that they voted for Barisan Nasional. He claimed to have received the information from Jabar Khan, who was the secretary of the task force which was formed in 1991.

But, come to Kota Kinabalu, ask anyone in the know, who is Jabar Khan @ Yassir Arafat, we can hear loads about this fellow. Jabar Khan is one unreliable fellow and his credibility stinks.


This is for my friend MD Mutalib who passed away so suddenly on 29th of June 2013.

I got to know Mutalib and his family the last few years. Even my 2 kids were friend’s of Mutalib. I share the loss of this unsung hero, he suffered a lot while exposing the issuance of I/Cs to illegal immigrants from the Philippines, Indonesia and the Indian Subcontinent. For those who are in the dark about him, Mutalib was in fact the first to expose the “I/C Palsu” and illegal immigrants voting using forged I/C.

Although he was a Peninsular Malaysian born in Kedah, Mutalib was A true Sabahan who fought for justice for Sabahans and pursued Sabah’s Mother of All Problems “the illegal I/C”. I dare say here that its because of Mutalib’s years of painstaking efforts Sabah got its Royal Commission of Enquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah.

But I’m also pondering how his sudden demise has raised some strange questions since he was the key witness for the ongoing RCI. A ‘conspiracy theory’ – RCI on illegal immigrants has just lost a credible witness just days before he is about to appear in the witness box. Mutalib’s death has also sparked rumors among those in the know and even on Facebook that he might have been the victim of an assassination plot.

This is no speculation; Mutalib himself had raised the question many times with me in the past when we were discussing of the sudden death of Private Investigator Bala who was involve in the Altantuya Drama. Mutalib wondered if the “government” could be infecting the “government critics” with illness … Mutalib even told me, ‘I don’t want to make any reckless accusations,’ but Mutalib said he was concerned by something he finds ‘very, very, very strange.’ ‘Would it be strange if Malaysia had developed a technology to induce heart failure or stroke, and for no one to know it?’ he asked me.

As with many conspiracy theories, there are a few grains of truth that lend such stories plausibility.

But, there’s also some evidences that governments have used poison to target enemies of the state. In 2006, former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko became sick and died from being poisoned by a dose of radioactive polonium-210, and before his death accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of the assassination. Still, government denials of sinister, clandestine assassination plots are to be expected, and did little to discourage conspiracy theorists.

I suppose only time will be able to tell. For now, I bid a final farewell to my friend Mutalib, a true and fearless Sabahan who tried to right the wrongs, but did not live long enough to see through with what he had been fighting for all these years. A champion for Sabahans, an unsung hero, we will be missing him.

My deepest condolence to his family and may Allah bless his soul.

He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

As the hours zero in on the closing of the Sulu standoff and a possibility of some intense immigrant backlash in Lahad Datu and her neighbouring coastal towns, one may wonder what is next for Sabah. Although speculations have indicated that the prolong stand off is due to meek and uncharismatic leadership by the top guns of BN, one could also say that they have been making calculated and planned moves to ensure success and simultaneously lessening the anti- BN war cry among neigh sayers. After all, an early move could result in multiple riots among Suluk immigrants throughout Sabah. As predicted, Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, has had his share of publicity amidst the standoff as well. The Suluk Filipinos are after his head as they eye the Chief Minister’s post in a renewed bid and Musa, affectionately known as Moses among his fellow Dusuns, has Foreign Minister and brother, Anifah Aman along for the ride, this time around.

Their major critics, Suluk Filipinos and the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), allege that Anifah is Musa’s “real nominee”, who is involved in all sorts of shady dealings involving timber and even the recent arrest of Manuel Amalilo aka Mohammad Suffian Syed who scammed 15,000 Filipinos of 12 billion pesos (RM895 million) in a ponzi scheme in Philippines is purportedly engineered by the Aman brothers which is so ridiculous. Those who know Anifah will swear that the Kimanis MP is one shrewd operator too. He’s strictly scrupulous about the way he arranges his public and private life. Having made his money and tons of it before he went into politics, Anifah has since then stayed out of business and professional dealings which would cast aspersions on his character and his integrity in public service. So, the critics would appear to be barking up the wrong tree on Anifah. I mean, why would you kick a dog just because you hate its owner?

Many want to see Anifah destroyed along with Musa to minimize any possibility that the younger brother taking up the challenge of being the Chief Minister if ever the opportunity presents itself. Anifah is getting closer by the day to the Chief Minister’s post as he has since chalked up an enviable record as Foreign Minister. Aside from Anifah, Pairin is the only other leader who will get Musa’s support as his successor. But Pairin has been Chief Minister from 1985 to 1994, and is unlikely to accept his old post even if offered. He is also extremely pleased with Musa’s performance as Chief Minister since he took over the reins of the state government. He works quietly without getting into needless politicking, or like PKR, promising the sun, the moon and the stars in between.

It’s not surprising that PKR has no qualms about walking on the wild side of politics in Sabah. It’s an open secret in the state that Opposition Leader and de facto PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim was among the chief architects responsible for placing illegal immigrants, mainly drawn from Suluk Filipinos, on the electoral rolls. He was then in the BN Government as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister. Anwar’s shady past in Sabah has caught up with him in the present to haunt his future. That’s why the call is getting louder in Sabah for Anwar to be called in as witness to the ongoing RCI on illegal immigrants in the state. Besides, PKR has even pledged, in an act of political suicide, that illegal immigrants in Sabah would all be given permanent residency (PR) status should the opposition alliance seize the reins of power in the state.

Between the Suluk Filipinos and Anwar’s PKR, they are not too happy that Musa convinced Najib Tun Razak and mobilised UMNO Sabah to pledge support for the RCI. More alarm bells have gone off when Anifah lashed out publicly not so long ago against attempts by the a special unit at the National Registration Department (NRD) in Putrajaya to issue birth certificates and MyKads to 40,000 people in Semporna alone without going through the local Mobile Court system. Anifah doubted that there could be that many people in one district alone without personal Malaysian documents. But the truth is, Semporna is undoubtedly infested with illegal immigrants, especially Suluk from the nearby Sulu Archipelago in the Philippines.

Anifah’s outburst on Semporna, coming on top of his brother’s public support for the RCI, was the last straw for the Suluk Filipinos. They, led by the Godfather, decided that the Aman brothers would have to go sooner rather than later. Their “secret weapon” is to recycle the old Chinaman’s story, of Michael Chia Thien Foh being nabbed with some Singapore $16 million at one time at Hong Kong Airport, and allegedly close to Musa. But the truth to the matter is, Micheal Chia is a bosom buddy to Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, minister in the Prime Minister Department. So close is Chia that he had even given Nazri’s son a Hummer SUV, as a gift of sorts.

The story, as it now transpires, is that Chia was never caught in the Hong Kong Airport with bag load of foreign currency. Chia’s hotel room in Hong Kong was raided by the Hong Kong authorities, acting on a tip-off which came from an estranged business partner of Chia, now at loggerheads. In that hotel raid, the Hong Kong authorities found in Chia’s room Singapore $ 16 million. So, this whole story about Micheal Chia getting caught in Hong Kong Airport is a whole lot of rubbish. It never happened in the Hong Kong Airport but indeed took place in the hotel room in Hong Kong where Chia was staying.

The Hong Kong case, if any, has been closed but PKR and Musa’s Suluk Filipino political enemies do not want to cease and desist. They are doggedly flogging the Hong Kong in various recycle versions and liberally dishing them around among the alternative media with known links to PKR and Anwar. A new spin from both PKR and the Suluk Filipinos, is that Attorney-General Gani Patail is related to Musa through his wife. Hence, as the spin continues, his reluctance to prosecute the Sabah Chief Minister and his brother “despite the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) having concluded its investigations”.

The fact of the matter is that it’s not the AG who immediately decides on the prosecution of Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders suspected of being involved in corruption. The MACC files on such leaders have to be sent to the Prime Minister who in turn will have to return them to the Commission before they are sent to the AG for further action, if any. In Musa and Anifah’s case, even if there’s an MACC file on both of them, it’s unlikely that it has been sent to Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak. Indeed, even if such a file exists and it has been sent to the Prime Minister, it’s highly unlikely that he would be so foolish as to send it back to the MACC for onward transmission to the AG.

This is the system first initiated by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The MACC files on Eric Chia of Perwaja Steel and Kasitah Gaddam were under lock and key in Mahathir’s office for years. It was his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi aka Pak Lah, who sent these files back to MACC. The rest is history. Even if there’s a circumstantial case against Musa and Anifah, current PM Najib is unlikely to rock his Fixed Deposit state of Sabah just because some Suluk Filipino got too big for his boots and wants to be Chief Minister. For one, no Suluk Filipino will ever become Chief Minister of Sabah.

The Dusuns in particular — including the Kadazan and Murut – would not allow it. That would be the worst imaginable political scenario for them as it would open the floodgates to further influx of illegal immigrants from the Philippines in particular. Mindful that the Dusuns and Muruts through Joseph Pairin Kitingan and the Parti Bersatu Sabah are solidly behind Musa, the Suluk Filipinos recently tried to sponsor KDM Malaysia as an NGO to further split the non-Muslim Natives as a political force to reckon with in the state. Their efforts came to nothing and the NGO is currently on the verge of being deregistered by the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

For another, the Suluk Sabahans and other local Muslims – Dusun, Bajau, Barunai, Irranun, among others – are dead set against a Suluk Filipino taking the reins of the state government. The stand was made clear by the Suluk Sabahans who have re-grouped under the old United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) in a protest against the disproportionate political role being played in Umno by the Suluk Muslims. The Suluk Filipinos running amok in Sabah, like other illegal immigrants, should thank their lucky stars that they have not so far been detained and deported to the Philippines and banned forever from entering the state. If they think that they can cover up their tracks and buy political protection by seizing the Chief Minister’s post, they are sadly mistaken. Already, local Muslims feel increasingly marginalized and disenfranchised by the continuing influx of the illegal immigrants who go on to enter the electoral rolls and monopolize opportunities which would have otherwise gone to them.

The Lahad Datu armed intrusion and the Malaysian armed forces’ operations against the Filipino Suluk intruders claiming Sabah belongs to Philippines is a real eye opener. We have lost 8 of our security personals so far in this skirmish since the events began unfolding in Lahad Datu. For decades, we have allowed the influx of illegal immigrants and granted citizenships to Filipino immigrants under Project IC. The security threats posed by the large presence of illegals in Sabah has been highlighted by Sabahans for decades but this has fallen on deaf ears in Putrajaya. News of Azzimuddie Kiram’s brother who resides in Sabah, being placed on the police’s wanted list shows the complexities of the situation. Many of the Suluks and Moros, numbering 500,000 in Sabah, are ardent followers of the Sulu sultanate. Will they still support BN?

Although still too early to say who Sabah will decide to be their next leader, how they will go about it and the reasons behind it is no mystery. It has to be a “Sabah for Sabahan” stand for now, and having outsiders, local or otherwise, just may not make the cut. The tic-tac-toe of Sabah’s next Man will eventually be dealt with in good time. And who knows, perhaps other media oulets like Reuters, Al-Jazeera and Bernama just may have their own take on the socio-political landscape of Sabah, allowing for newer and more different ideas and even evidences to be discussed and showcased.

But for now, ladies and gentlemen, back to the stand off.

by Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

COMMENT The on-going probe into a bogus MyKad scam at the Tawau National Registration Department (NRD) has been touted as a timely curtain-raiser to the proposed Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the illegal immigrant phenomenon in Sabah.

It has been hailed as proof enough that the Federal Government means business on national security.

In fact, it’s nothing of that sort.

The RCI is not about bogus MyKads flooding the state, or the “rampant” issuance of citizenships which has emerged as another red herring, but rather the alleged circumvention of the Federal Constitution article on citizenship by operation of law.

The Federal Government cannot be “faulted” for issuing citizenship – naturalization — through the normal process to foreigners in Sabah.
However, it can be faulted if it wants such people to be treated as Sabahans.

The correct procedure would be for Putrajaya to issue citizenships to permanent residents in Sabah only upon recommendation by the Sabah state government.

The Federal Government cannot take the initiative on this unless it wants to treat such foreigners as Peninsular Malaysians in which case those affected would not have Sabah permanent residence status. They will then be subject to the normal visa and work permit regulations to safeguard local jobs.

The Federal Government cannot issue Special Passes, temporary residence permits (green cards), permanent residence status (red cards) or citizenships to foreigners in Sabah without the prior written recommendation and consent of the state government, which must be the initiating party, on a case-by-case basis.

There’s no evidence that the Federal Government indeed received any such prior recommendation and consent of the state government. In any case, the politics will not allow it.

If the Federal Government receives applications directly from foreigners in Sabah for Special Passes, green and red cards or citizenships, it’s duty-bound to advise the applicants to go through the state government and not go off at a tangent and act unilaterally.

In Sabah, much of the rot allegedly stems from the fact that many people are “twice-born”, once in their home countries and the second time in Sabah.

Their “second birth” is recorded in a late registration birth certificate by way of a Statutory Declaration (SD) wherein the applicant falsely and fraudulently claims to have been born in Sabah.

By this seeming laxity on the part of the NRD and the Court, the imposters avoid having to apply for citizenship. How can the NRD accept the contents of a SD as the Gospel truth when it’s nothing but wholesale perjury i.e. lying under oath?

A simple NRD checklist can easily weed out the fraudsters: ancestral kampung? The name of the kampung head and names of those in the Village Security and Development Committee? Names of family members and close relatives? Photographic evidence? Schools attended?

This was not done.

This is an open secret in Sabah and as evident in cases which have been heard or more accurately part-heard in Court.

It’s a mystery how the “twice-born” could have obtained their MyKads without being sponsored by their parents. All applicants for MyKads meant for Malaysians would have to produce their parents MyKads and birth certificates.

To cut a long story short, and before the RCI begins, the Government should offer a general amnesty to all those who illegally and fraudulently obtained Malaysian personal documents in Sabah.

The errant parties should be willing to come forward and remove their names as well from the electoral rolls and surrender their documents in return for Special Passes — valid for six months at a time and renewable indefinitely for a maximum of 18 months during which time they must return to their home countries and may re-enter, if they wish, but legally after a blacklisting period of five years.

If they entered Sabah by the backdoor, they must be encouraged to return the same way to avoid the risk of complications like statelessness. Those who entered legally and overstayed should also return home by the backdoor.

Those who can’t return for any reason should be on Special Passes for Life, their children should only be entitled to temporary residence permits for life, their grandchildren should only be entitled to permanent residence for life, and only their great grandchildren should be eligible to apply for naturalization but in Peninsular Malaysia.

The general amnesty should also be extended to those who issued such documents and voluntarily come forward.

Those who issued such documents should voluntarily surrender their citizenship status in return for permanent residence status for life.

Their “crime” should affect the status of their children and grandchildren as the case may be.

A fine of at least RM 500 should be imposed on foreigners and RM 5, 000 on Malaysians involved in the fraudulent issuance of Malaysian personal documents and the monies collected should go to the Sabah state government.

The precedent for the general amnesty, partly, should be a similar offer in Peninsular Malaysia in 1965. A fine of RM 300 each was imposed.

If one obtains a Malaysian personal document to which one is not eligible or not entitled to obtain under the law and Constitution, the said document would be a nullity in law from the very beginning. In law, it’s as if the said document was never issued.

No passage of time, even over generations, will whitewash an illegality and make it legal.

The onus is on the perpetrator to come forward and face the system without waiting for the long arm of the law to catch up with him or her sooner or later. Perpetrators should not hope for the declaration of a general amnesty which may or may not materialize.

The long arm of the law can catch up with any perpetrator by way of a Judicial Review by any citizen to revoke the “citizenship” of anyone not entitled to hold it or not eligible to obtain such a document. In such a situation, the perpetrator is faced with all sorts of eventualities including being blackmailed for life by any applicant seeking a Judicial Review or ending up in a legal twilight zone as a stateless person.

The main focus of the RCI should be on late registration birth certificates obtained by Statutory Declaration, the “Malay” category in the Sabah statistics on demography and the number of people which the Philippines, Indonesian and other governments refused to take back on the grounds of statelessness.

The RCI should also probe the number of stateless people and temporary residents in Sabah, the NRD, Immigration Dept, police, Court and Election Commission procedures to deal with illegals and foreigners.

The RCI should also probe the extent of political interference in dealing with the illegal immigrant phenomenon in Sabah.

by Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

COMMENT It appears that ties between the Sabah chapter of the Borneo-based State Reform Party (Star) and the Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) could be “much better” if not for the latter’s insistence on contesting in 40 state seats and almost a third, about five to seven, of the parliamentary seats in Sabah. The party reiterated this stand at its meet on Sun in Kota Kinabalu.

Before the 40/5-7 Sun announcement by Sapp, Star had been publicly toying with the “goodwill gesture” of conceding two state seats — Likas and Luyang — and one (Tawau) of the two parliamentary seats it (Sapp) won in 2008 as a member of the ruling BN. Star itself had announced in mid-April that it would go for all 60 state seats at stake in Sabah and 26 parliamentary seats including Labuan.

Star chairman Jeffrey Kitingan then explained it as his party’s Plan Z after Sapp held secret seat-sharing talks with de facto Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Chief Anwar Ibrahim in Kota Kinabalu. Anwar claimed that he was negotiating on behalf of PR but this was quickly denied by Sabah Dap which wants Star brought into the equation as well. Anwar’s excuse for leaving out Star is that “it’s a new party in Sabah”.

Another major policy difference, reiterated by Sapp President Yong Teck Lee at the Sun meet, is that Sapp, unlike Star, does not want to be the king maker. He would be quite happy with just “killing the King” (Umno) so that “Anwar Ibrahim can be King”.

Yong condescendingly attributes Star’s stand to the 16-year-old party being new in Sabah and “still feeling its way” and this has outraged Star which is taking Sapp’s sanctimonious pontifications on “king killing” as a ploy and with more than a pinch of salt.

Jeffrey, given a history of bitter animosity with the allegedly anti-Christian Anwar, is not happy with the idea of him being “King” as it contradicts his party’s grand “vision of working towards helping empower the people of Sabah and Sarawak to wean them away from the dependency syndrome foisted on them by the BN to hold them to ransom in a climate of fear”.

His party, or at least the young Turks, is pushing for either Lim Guan Eng or Wan Azizah on the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) side vs Tengku Razaleigh on the Barisan Nasional (BN) side. Star disagrees with the Pas notion that the Prime Minister must always be a Muslim from one of the Malay-speaking communities in Peninsular Malaysia who originated from the Archipelago.

Under Star’s kingmaker policy, it’s a toss between PR and BN but with the right Prime Minister-designate, “and the one favoured most would be the one – not party — who would least disrupt the economy”.

Star feels that Anwar, being a noted rabble-rouser all his life, would be a disruptive element in the economic management of the country. They are not impressed with his pledge to virtually “steal less oil and gas” than BN from Sabah and Sarawak given that the Petroleum Development Act has been found by legal experts to be unconstitutional and the oil agreement null and void.

The bottomline is that Star does not want Sabah and Sarawak in the post-13th GE period to go from the frying pan (BN) into the fire (PR), or at best, from the fire (BN) into the frying pan (PR).

The political fallout from Sapp’s insistence on “killing the King” and contesting 40 state seats has surprisingly taken a personal turn and is increasingly souring ties between the two parties.

Sapp activists are claiming during their ceramah that “Star is a useless reject from Sarawak where it failed to make any headway for 16 years, that its agenda is simply a cut-and-paste of Sapp’s original ideas, that it has been planted by BN to split the opposition votes and that Jeffrey himself received RM 50 million from a veteran BN leader in South Africa recently”.

Jeffrey’s international passport, a senior Star leader confided, does not show any trip to South Africa.

He dismissed the other allegations by Sapp as “a pack of lies which only this party of samsengs is capable of cooking up”.

“Samseng” is an image that Sapp finds particularly difficult to shake given the Dap constantly harping on this hypersensitive theme. This has made the soft-spoken Jeffrey more than a little wary of being publicly seen as being too close with Sapp, Yong in particular.

Sapp, in any case, seems bent on demolishing Star’s attempt to stake a claim to all seats at stake under Kingmaker Jeffrey’s Plan Z despite a caveat in some quarters.

In a sign of light at the end of the tunnel, some Sapp leaders are willing to accept just what Star can offer it and go along with Jeffrey’s king maker idea. However, they are coming under intense pressure from hawkish elements in the party who are reportedly linked with political party financers and moneybags working across the political divide and known hoodlums from Sarawak, all Foochows, controlling the Sabah underworld.

The young Turks in Star who originally came up with the party’s 60/26 plan, initially denied by Jeffrey “to please Sapp” and subsequently endorsed after Anwar, think that “Sapp will continue with its annoying mosquito ways despite staying in a glass house”.

They may hit back by probing the known skeletons in Sapp’s cupboard and, where possible, dredge up new information.

One of the skeletons is Jeffrey’s incarceration under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) for two two-year terms for activities undertaken by Sapp leaders when they were with the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS).

They are puzzled that Jeffrey can be so “forgiving”.

It was Yong, they swear, who prevailed upon PBS President Joseph Pairin Kitingan to pull out his party on the eve of General Election in 1990. Yong was then a PBS Deputy President. Yong did not work alone. He earlier sought the support of PBS Deputy President Bernard Giluk Dompok – now Upko President – after being first rebuffed by Jeffrey who feared being blamed by then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

The young Turks confide that Star has two options “to put Sapp and PKR as well in their place in Sabah” in the run-up to the forthcoming 13th General Election.

The first was to demolish “the lies being spread by Sapp activists” and the second was to emphasize that “there’s no basis for comparison between Sapp and Star”.

“It was Sapp who ganged up with Umno to overthrow the PBS Government in 1994 through defections,” said a young Turk who remains incognito. “The Natives are mad to this day with Sapp for overthrowing the government of their Huguan Siou (paramount chief) Pairin.”

According to her, this is the most telling point among the Dusuns and Muruts in particular against Sapp; followed by the sneaking suspicion flogged by Dap that Sapp will “frog back into BN after the 13th GE to play the kingmaker role there”.

Elsewhere, Sapp’s track record when Yong was Chief Minister will come under growing scrutiny.

Topping the list is Yong’s allegedly lackluster record in office as Chief Minister; followed by the Likas election petition during which the Court discovered that the electoral rolls had been padded with illegal immigrants and, as a result, over-turned the election result; Yong’s disqualification from contesting for five years; Yong’s inability to explain the crippling losses suffered by state-sponsored Saham Amanah Sabah (SAS) holders who at one time saw the value of their holdings drop to ten sen per unit; and the marginalisation and disenfranchisement of thousands of forest fringe-dwelling Natives left virtually internally-displaced by the Sapp Government approving 100-year leases for so-called Forest Management Units (FMU).

Star, of all the parties in Sabah and Sarawak, fights a lonely battle on internal colonisation, self-determination, the Petroleum Development Act being unconstitutional, and the Federal Government’s non-compliance on the four constitutional documents and/or conventions which formed the basis for Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia viz. the 1963 Malaysia Agreement; the 20/18 Points; the Inter Governmental Committee Report; and the Cobbold Commission Report.

It also has reportedly a different and comprehensive take on the proposed Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants. The party’s stand will be unveiled in the security aspects of its Manifesto which is “work in progress”.

Therein lies the difference.