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50,000 Sabahans want RCI on illegals

Sabah opposition party SAPP is bent on convincing NGOs and political groups across the divide to back calls for Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegals
KOTA KINABALU, April 6, 2011: Some 50,000 Malaysian citizens in Sabah have signed a petition demanding that the federal government set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in the state.
The petition is to be handed to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak or his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin during the current parliamentary sitting.

Sabah Progressive Peoples Party (SAPP) said the petition was signed by 50,000 Malaysians who also gave their IC numbers.

Its Youth division chief Edward Dagul said that the signatures would only be handed to Najib or his deputy and they would be expecting a definitive answer from either of them.

"If I fail to give it to the prime minister or deputy prime minister, I will wait for another time to hand it to him, when they come to the state or during the next parliamentary sitting (in June).

"In the meantime, we will carry on and discuss with the other parties on the opposition front to make this a project for Sabahan youths until we get a definitive answer from the prime minister himself saying 'No, we will not have an RCI for this'… then I will leave it up to the people of Sabah to judge.

"Even after we hand over the petition, the initiative will not end there. We hope to include other parties and NGOs which are in favour of this (campaign).

"We are not compartmentalising people into political leanings," he told FMT.

Spin-off problem

Dagul said that they also planned to hand copies of the signed petition to Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman during the coming State Legislative Assembly sitting.

He said more than 50,000 signatures had been collected statewide but due to logistical problems they were not included.

"According to the secretariat (of the drive), there are probably another 20,000 more signatures," he said, adding that though they had missed the target by half, those who signed were from across the political spectrum.

"We know that Upko, in principle, is fighting for the same thing because it is frustrated by the attitude of the federal government which is not even willing to look into setting up the RCI," he said.

Dagul said that the Youth division had started the signature drive in early March after they had lodged a police report against Sulu Sultan Mohd Akjan Ali Muhammad whom they see as a spin-off problem of the illegal immigrants in Sabah, among many others.

However, Dagul also said that the campaign faced obstacles in the east coast where there was a higher concentration of illegal immigrants.

"Most of the signatures we collected were in Kota Kinabalu, the west coast and in Sandakan.

"Those who refused to sign were somehow linked to the government or whose family members are in public service and fear that they would be reprisal if they signed the petition," he said.

SAPP team threatened

The SAPP team was also unable to visit certain places due to logistic problems and in some cases they were threatened with physical violence.

"In Tawau, we paid to use the space at a building but we were asked to leave when they found out what we were doing.

"The fishmongers in the Penampang fish market also threaten to beat us if we held the drive there.

"If this happens over a signature drive, what more if it's something more concrete or serious?

"They dare to do this here; there's a real concern. This is a threat to national security and sovereignty.

Everyone is expressing concern but why is it not being looked into?" he said.

Meanwhile, Dagul said that the SAPP Youth division would be sending teams to Sarawak to aid opposition parties while at the same time observing and learning from the state polls, in preparation for the general election.

"Our stand is that we will support persons or political parties whose common objective is to bring down the BN government," he said.

On the disagreement between Sarawak Nasional Party (SNAP) and PKR, Dagul said that he hoped there would be no misunderstanding as SAPP would not be involved in resolving their issues.

"It is a concern for us but we do not want to be part of that.

"We are not here to solve your problems but we will help you to get rid of BN in whatever capacity we can.

"That is the objective and it should be the common objective. We are still hopeful they can come to some amicable arrangement," he said.

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