Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) President Joseph Pairin Kitingan (pic) has called on the federal government to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah next year as a sign of its commitment towards resolving the issue.He said it was time the government took the matter seriously as requests on the issue had been made a while back.”This is only a guideline but needs to be stressed on. Focus should be given on forming the commission to give assurance to Malaysians in Sabah.
“Many people, especially the locals, are asking whether they are protected as Malaysian citizens in Sabah. This is why a Royal Commission of Inquiry should be set up, next year,” he told reporters after opening the PBS Wanita and Youth delegates conference in conjuction with the party’s 26th Annual Congress at KDCA, near here yesterday.
Pairin, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, said the sudden population hike in Sabah should open the eyes of the federal government on the need to take drastic action to tackle illegal immigrant issues, in the same seriousness it had given to tackling hardcore poverty in the state.
He said PBS was confident that the federal government under the leadership of Najib Tun Razak would see the pleas of Sabahans as a priority, in line with the 1Malaysia concept.
“We believe the government can also take a bold action and form the commission of inquiry,” he said, adding however that the party was making a friendly request and not an ultimatum.
He also hoped the government would review the refugee status given to Filipinos who fled the war in their countries in the 70s, especially now that the situation, especially in southern Philippine, was peaceful.
“The status of refugees in Sabah is different because they are still considered refugees despite improved situations in their homeland. The problem now is their settlement, which has become an eyesore,” said Pairin.