KOTA KINABALU: Referring to the statement by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin that the government is considering a proposal by the Sabah Government to provide identity cards to foreign nationals in the state, the United Progressive Kinabalu Organization (UPKO) would like to ask what type of card is meant by Federal government.
The statement made by Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin raises many questions because the issue of identity card issuance has long been politicized, including during the Sabah State Election (PRN) and the Kimanis parliamentary by -election two years ago.
Currently, there are several types of cards that have been issued, namely IMM13, Sijil Banci dan Kad Burung to foreigners in Sabah.
Given that, about two years ago, the parties in the current state and Federal Government themselves who had protested and made the efforts of the proposal then to introduce a Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) to identify the position of foreigners in Sabah as an electoral and political issue. We want an explanation from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin on what type of card to use as “an identity card or similar documents”.
The Home Minister must explain whether the intention and working of this said identity cards are the same as proposed by the Federal Government to the then PSS? If the suggestions and proposals came from the same government agencies who had proposed PSS before, it would most likely be the same proposal now albeit with a different name. Don’t play with words such as to the intention of this newly proposed cards is not to give illegal immigrants (PTI) documents or that to give them citizenship because the PSS then was never intended to have that effect as well.
UPKO does not want the action of issuing new identity cards to immigrants lead to new problems or issues in Sabah, and cause current issues to linger that could affect the well-being of the people of Sabah in the long run.
Explain to us what is the difference with the introduction of this identity cards as compare to the PSS before? It would also be interesting to hear the views of all the state leaders in the current State Government who was very vocal in opposing the proposed PSS by the Federal Government before.
UPKO have highlighted that there are in actual fact four main categories of the problems concerning the presence of foreign immigrants in Sabah. I suggest each and every responsible and sincere leader from Sabah to understand the differences of these four categories before making their views and worst politicising the matter.
The four categories of foreign immigrants problems in Sabah are the continuous entry of illegal Immigrants, the ever presence of refugees in the state, the status of a Stateless person in the state and those who had obtained identity cards through dubious means.
If none of our leaders understand the different challenges posed and solutions that is required to solve these four different categories of problems, then they have no business of giving their views by politicizing the matter and confusing the public further.
If the Federal Government is sincere in solving these long standing problems with the presence of these immigrants in Sabah, then they must understand and find the solution for each of these problems.
We do not want the issuance of the new identity card announced by the home minister to be a political tool to strengthen the Sabah State Government today.
UPKO wants the government to take serious understanding of the four categories of foreign immigrants problems in Sabah and to resolve each of these problems comprehensively to restore the dignity of the country and the sovereign state of Sabah. We need to resolutely find solutions for the benefit of our future generations.
With this latest announcement, it is the responsibility of the Central Government and the Ministry of Home Affairs to explain the action of issuing these new identity cards for foreigners. An in-depth explanation must be given to prevent the people of Sabah from being confused and deceived by any party.