Dr Chong Eng Leong said it accurately when he described how a certain Datu Akjan Ali Muhammad's press statement stirred 'intense revulsion' among concerned Sabahans regarding foreigners who have obtained Mykad via dubious means; I am one of them.
This man and his antics really annoy me, intensely! How on earth would a Royal Commission Inquiry(RCI) "will only cause misunderstanding, ‘incite hatred’ and create disunity among the various ethnic groups in Sabah" as he said it?
He object to the calls for the establishment of the RCI to probe the extraordinary increase of Sabah’s population and the issuance of Malaysian citizenship to foreigners??
And what's with the veiled threat?! Excerpts from news report :-
“These groups of people have conveniently chosen to forget the historical facts of Sabah, that there are other ethnic groups who also possessed the equal rights as stipulated in the State Constitution,” he said.
Akjan warned those pushing for the establishment of the RCI to take a cue from the many cases of racial tension and unrest in other countries when certain ethnic groups try to deny the rights of the other ethnic groups.
He said that if the RCI promoters continue to push for it, it may one day backfire on them and they should instead spend some time studying the history of Sabah and the genesis of its various ethnic groups.And why drag true blue Sabahans Suluks into the matter?
Pointing to natives in Sabah of Suluk origin, who he claimed were marginalized, Akjan said they had always remained loyal to the state despite their difficulty.
We don't need a lecture of historical facts from you, certainly not from someone who had been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) related to issuance of documents to illegal immigrants. Has he tried to clear his name regarding this? If there were no Project IC, why didn't he sue the federal government for tarnishing his good name by associating him with the whole fiasco? A businessman would certainly want to keep his name clean. He might be innocent but his action or rather inaction, certainly drew loads of questions. And now, here he is, objecting to the RCI?
I hope the local Suluk in Sabah do not get hoodwinked by this man. Historically, as far back as the golden era of the Bruneian Sultanate, there were migrations of Suluks from the Philippine islands to Sabah or North Borneo as it was known then. These early migrants settled here. In fact, the Suluks weren't the only fellow natives of the Philippines islands that had made Sabah their home prior to Malaysia day. During the colonial era, there were a Tagalog (some mixed Spaniards) community in North Borneo. They have all assimilated into the larger community. When Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963, they effectively became Sabahans and Malaysians respectively.
The RCI is not about a group wanting to diminish the right of another group. How did that come about? It's about probing recent migrants, post Malaysia day, that had acquired citizenship via dubious means! And it's not about us not wanting to grant citizenship to foreigners! Of course we would welcome any foreigners who wish to become Sabahan Malaysian. If you are industrious and/or of good standing and will contribute to Sabah's development, of course you are welcome. Remember, North Borneo's development was facilitated by migrants. One example, the British North Borneo Charted Company (BNBCC) sponsored the migration of the industrious Hakka Chinese to North Borneo. The best example of how a nation benefited from immigrants is the United States.
Why would you think that an RCI will diminish a certain group's rights? Exactly what rights are we talking about? Special position accorded to natives as enshrined in the constitution? I got news for you, RCI is looking into citizenship gained via dubious means, its not about whether your ethnicity has more or less privileges than the other natives of Sabah.
The only people who should worry about an RCI, are those who gained their citizenship outside of proper channels i.e. forged documents etc and those in the inside, who betrayed Sabah's sovereignty.
And what is this Sandakan-based Rantau Putra Association asserting that the RCI is unconstitutional and unfair. Since when forging documents is constitutional and fair? Please pray tell, I really like to know why you are against the RCI? If one's citizenship was properly obtained, why would anyone be afraid of the RCI? We are looking for forged documents, not genuine ones!
This is just a desperate attempt by some quarters in delaying or even rail roading the RCI by trying to pit another native group against another one; Sleight of hand to divert attention. Who would stoop so low as to use and mislead a community for their gain. I hope true Sabahans will not buy this crap.
No such thing as Project IC?
There's a report in Daily Express today which I find interesting. It was reporting on the recently launched mobile courts in Sabah. I'm reproducing it here:
Illegals keep trying luck at Sabah mobile courtsKota Kinabalu: There are still attempts by illegal immigrants to take the opportunity of the recently launched mobile courts to get citizenship in Sabah.These include requests for endorsements of late birth registration, the fact that many of these applications are made in large towns and the relative ease in which some foreigners are able to obtain a MyKad.From 2009 until Nov 21, there have been 24,479 application for endorsements of late birth registration. Statistics show that magistrates have disposed of 7,638 cases. The remaining 16,841 are part heard or pending.Of the 7,638 cleared cases, however, only about 10pc of the applications referred by the National Registration Department (NRD) were endorsed, meaning the magistrates were unable to confirm the truth of the birth particulars in close to 7,000 cases.Next, most of the applications are in Kota Kinabalu (3,004) and big towns like Tawau (2,805), Sandakan (6,674), Semporna (2,868) and Lahad Datu (3,493) in the east coast.This is despite the existence of big hospitals and NRD offices to facilitate early registration of births.Under Section 22 of Sabah's Registration of Births and Deaths Ordinance 1953, which was declared a Federal law in 1965, every entry of birth made after 42 days of the birth is to be marked "Late Registration". An extract from the late registration registry must be certified by the magistrate's court before it is deemed legally binding and can be used in applying for a MyKad.Many foreigners are also trying to obtain a MyKad via questionable means. "We take judicial notice that there are many cases of fake MyKads circulating in Sabah," said mobile court coordinator Duncan Sikodol."As such we cross-check with NRD and Immigration before endorsing the information in the late birth registration of the applicant's child as genuine. There is little doubt about the birth date itself but we need to be satisfied they are indeed Malaysians," he said after a mobile court trip to the interior mukims of Pagalungangand and Pensiangan.Sikodol said the fathers often told the inquiry "they come from some kampung or the other but when we ask for details, they either can't tell us anything else or they say they are citizens by way of 'Project IC'. When we ask for supporting letters, they say they have none. We need to be careful because endorsing the extract of a late birth registration is in effect conferring citizenship," he said.
......."While the inquiries have made it more difficult to obtain an endorsement of the birth particulars, consequently making it impossible to get a MyKad," Pitrus disclosed : "Once, when we contacted an applicant to tell him the inquiry date, he said, tak payah, dah dapat IC'. (no need, I got the IC)"
That's part of the report. For further read, The Star also carried similar report on the matter here.
This issue has been plaguing us for more than two decades! The RCI may prove that Project IC is non-existence but what's wrong with getting a confirmation on it? Get this proverbial monkey off our back once and for all, so we can move on. It will benefit all parties and finally put a closure and start healing this open wound of ours.
This issue has nothing to do with being humane. I pity those illegal immigrants too, especially their often stateless children roaming the streets in their ragged clothes, living worse than animals. However, I for one would like to get an answer to this longstanding rumour about Project IC. Is it true that there are certain party out there that is 'giving out' citizenship to these migrants for their votes?