After 40 years of nightmare of illegal immigrants in Sabah, time is well past “talking” and only action, action and action will do

A few days ago, the yet-to-receive Appointment Letter Chairman of the Working Committee of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS) Report, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said his committee was prepared to hear out the Opposition.

Pairin intended to appear very magnanimous but he has come across as very out-dated and even obsolete, for after 40 years of nightmare of illegal immigrants in Sabah, time is well past “talking” or “hearing out”, but action, action and only action to resolve the problem once-and-for-all will do.

All the solutions that could be conceived to resolve the problem of exponential increase in the population of Sabah as a result of the unchecked influx of illegal immigrants, and worse, their illegal and immoral enfranchisement as voters through Project I/C and such-like treasonous conspiracies, have been canvassed ad infinitum, even by Pairin himself and the PBS leaders, and it is the height of dishonesty and hypocrisy for anyone to pretend that they want to hear out some more views as to how the 40-year-old nightmare of illegal immigrants could be resolved.

Pairin knew that there is no shortage of solutions but only one thing is lacking, and he himself had diagnosed this problem when he appeared as a witness at the RCIIIS. This was noted in page 31 of the RCIIIS Report on Pairin’s testimony as follows:

“He (Pairin) bemoans the fact that although PBS had raised the problems relating to illegal immigrants with the authorities, very little appeared to have been done and that what is needed is a political will to deal with the issue.”

Has Pairin, as Chairman of the RCIIIS Report Working Commitee, the “political will” to see the nightmare resolved “once and for all” instead of being kicked around in a never-ending merry-go-rounds?

Is he prepared to tell the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the co-chairmen of Permanent Committee on the RCIIIS Report, the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, that unless the authorities are prepared to take “drastic action” – the very words Pairin used after the publication of the RCIIIS Report – to end the 40-year-old nightmare of illegal immigrants in Sabah “once and for all”, he will not continue to be part of the farce and charade to drag out the illegal immigrant problem to no end till kingdom come, pretending to hear everyone out into the indefinite future but really doing absolutely nothing in pratice!

The very fact that it has taken more than six months before the RCIIIS Report was made public; with some 6,000 pages missing on the notes of evidence of the 211 witnesses, public exhibits including charts, pictures, statistics, letters, official directives, commentaries and articles, statutory declarations; that Pairin has not yet received his Letter of Appointment as Chairman of the Working Committee; that the Working Committee of the RCIIIS Report has yet to hold its first official meeting (in fact, I doubt Pairin knows are the full members of the Working Committee); and the lack of a roadmap to resolve the 40-year nightmare of illegal immigrants in Sabah in the RCIIIS Report all point to one thing: that the Federal and Sabah State Governments are not serious in wanting to resolve this problem “once and for all”.

In fact, the release of the RCIIIS Report was timed to ensure that it was only made public after the Dewan Rakyat had adjourned, and the report could not be discussed in Parliament or even the Sabah State Assembly.

In the circumstances, how are the people of Sabah and Malaysia to be convinced that the UMNO/Barisan Nasional governments in Putrajaya and Sabah have finally woken up to the seriousness of this problem and has the political will and sincerity to resolve it “once and for all”?

Finally, the people of Sabah and Malaysia must assert their democratic rights to demand responsibility, accountability and action from the Putrajaya and Sabah governments to resolve the illegal immigrant problem once and for all, not to further spin out the nightmare of the illegal immigrants in Sabah into endless rounds of talks and committees.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah