Will I now be accused of being a champion of the illegal immigrants because I campaigned for DAP leader and Warisan candidate Peter Saili in Bingkor just as I was accused of having caused May 13, 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur although I was in Sabah at the time?

The first time I visited Sabah was on that fateful day on May 13, 1969, and down the decades for some 50 years, I had been accused of having caused the May 13, 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur and led illegal processions through the streets of Kuala Lumpur although I was in Sabah and was never in Kuala Lumpur at the time.

I was speaking at an unprecedentedly huge public rally in Kota Kinabalu on the evening of May 13, 1969 when somebody whispered to me from the backstage that trouble had broken out in Kuala Lumpur – that was the first time I heard about the May 13, 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur.

At the Kota Kinabalu public rally, I criticised the authoritarian ways of the then Sabah Chief Minister, Tun Mustapha and he issued an expulsion order for me to leave Sabah the next morning.

I missed the daily flight from Kota Kinabalu that afternoon but I was lucky to miss the flight, for there was a group of Bajau horsemen who went to their Kota Kinabalu Airport to “finish” me off because I had criticised their hero, Tun Mustapha, at the KK public rally.

I was forced to spend another day in Kota Kinabalu and took the flight out of KK on May 15, 1969.

As Kuala Lumpur was under curfew, I spent three nights in Singapore from where I maintained contact with party leaders and my family. They advised me not to return as I was on the blacklist to be arrested. I assured them I would not return but I told myself that I would get back at the first opportunity, as it was unthinkable that I would run away from the troubles of the people as I had just been elected as MP for Bandar Melaka on May 10, 1969.

Without informing my family, I bought an air ticket to return home on May 18 and was arrested on disembarking at the Subang International Airport to begin my first detention under the Internal Security Act for 18 months.

These thought went through me just now as I wondered whether I will now be accused of being a champion of the illegal immigrants because I campaigned for DAP leader and Warisan candidate Peter Saili in Bingkor just as I was accused of having caused May 13, 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur although I was in Sabah at the time?

My next visit to Sabah was in 1977, after Tun Mustapha’s party USNO was toppled from power by Berjaya in 1976 and after the “666 tragedy” where the Nomad plane crash at the Kota Kinabalu airport killed the top Berjaya leadership, including Tun Fuad and Peter Mojuntin.

I visited Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau in 1977 and warned of three emerging problems for Sabah - the crime and security problem of the people of Sabah, corruption and the incipient problem of illegal immigrants.

If the Sabah government had heeded my warnings of these three problems, Sabah will not end up today as the poorest state in Malaysia with the highest poverty rate of 19.5% when the national average was only 5%.

In 1977, the number of illegal immigrants was estimated to be about 140,000, but over 40 years later, it is now estimated to be between 1.2 million to 2 million!

But the Sabah Chief Minister at the time, Harris Salleh, was not happy with my warnings, and I was again banned from visiting Sabah.

Joseph Pairin Kitingan had two opportunities to resolve the problem of illegal immigrants, the first time when he was Chief Minister from 1985 – 1994 and the second time when he was Deputy Chief Minister from 2004 to 2018.

But Joseph Pairin failed to resolve the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah in his 25 years as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, instead he was attacked by his brother Jeffrey Kitingan for being too pally with UMNO, in particular the former UMNO Chief Minister, Musa Aman.

But Jeffrey also failed to resolve the illegal immigrants problem although he is now Deputy Minister in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, with PAS and UMNO as the two major parties in PN.

I am surprised to learn that many people in Keningau believed that the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, was at Batu Sumpah, Keningau on Malaysia Day on 16th September to honour the Keningau Batu Sumpah and its three commitments of “Ugama Bebas Dalam Sabah”, “Tanah Tanah dalam Sabah di kuasai oleh Kerajaan Sabah” and “Adat Istiadat anak rayat Sabah dihormatkan dan dipelihara oleh Kerajaan”.

Muhyiddin never came to Keningau on Malaysia Day as he was in Sibu for another Malaysia Day event where he announced the formation of a Special Committee on Malaysia Agreement 1963 to discuss outstanding issues pertaining to MA63.

I knew because I have seen a video of the Keningau Batu Sumpah commemorative event on Malaysia Day where Jeffrey received a memorandum for the Prime Minister on the Keningau Batu Sumpah by the KDM native chiefs.

Would Jeffrey ensure that the Memorandum on Keningau Batu Sumpah would be tabled in the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday and that the Cabinet would take the important decision to place the Keningau Batu Sumpah as one of the agendas of the Special Committee on MA63?

If Peter Saili is elected as Bingkor State Assemblyman, he would work with other DAP leaders like Sabah Deputy Minister Janie Lamsimbang, Senator Adrian Lansimbang, MP for Tenom, Noorita Sual and other DAP leaders to find a long-term solution in the Warisan Plus state government to the illegal immigrant problem which is acceptable to the Kadazan-Dusun-Murut communities, without having to be pally with UMNO or to trust PAS.

The Sabah state general election is four days away. It is a Muhyiddin plot which went wrong. Musa Aman’s success to snare 13 “political frogs” was meant to capture Sabah state government and not to precipitate a Sabah state general election.

The “symbol” used by the Perikatan Nasional, which is not real symbol but the lettering of “Perikatan Nasional”, is proof that Muhyiddin was caught unprepared for a Sabah state general election.

Shafie has been one step ahead of Muhyiddin in the Battle for Sabah. Let the people of Sabah on Saturday give Shafie Apdal a second win over Muhyiddin by entrusting Warisan Plus a strong mandate not only to form the state government but to win with over two-thirds majority in the Sabah state assembly to end the disgusting “political frog” culture.

After the Sabah general election on Sept. 26, a new political drama involving how long Muhyiddin can survive as Prime Minister, will begin in Malaysia.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri