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Federal Government’s responsibility: Shafie
Published on: Saturday, March 16, 2019
By: Larry Ralon

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) said potential for abuse is not sufficient reason to prevent being humane and legalising children who are considered foreigners even though one parent is a Sabahan.

Responding to a question as to whether the State Government’s move may end up as a second “Project IC” which the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants did not rule out as a possible reason for a huge transient population in Sabah possessing documents, he said: “That is different but we cannot deny Sabahans just because there are people who are abusing it. 

“If we want it, because the person needs to eat. But just because there are people abusing it, the food cannot be given to the person, the person will be hungry, will die. Because we know there will be an abuse, but suddenly we want to stop their rights. 

“That cannot be just because there are certain abuses. Of course the abuses must be overcome. We should not allow that. Rest assured, there will be transparency.” 

He urged critics not to attack the State Government because “we have nothing to do with it. It is only the Federal Government. The national registration Department and Immigration Department which can issue the document.”

Shafie said the plan to legalise such children had been answered by the Home Affairs Ministry in Parliament. 

“They asked me what is your view on this, my view was that it is good because where there are Sabahans, (one of) their parents are Sabahans, whether it is the mother or the father, whose kids are without documents. 

“There must be efforts to ensure that those kids must have access to school, to facilities. How can they penalise our Sabahans and their kids.”

He cited a Dusun married to an African who submitted an application to him to become a Permanent Resident (PR) and they have three children, but he did not get the PR. There are many more such cases. 

“Should not be just because the child is born, whether the mother or the father is a Sabahan, and just because one parent is not a Sabahan, we deny them access to all facilities in schools and having proper document,” he said, after launching the Regatta Lepa Lepa festival’s 50th silver jubilee at the State Government Administration Complex (PPNS), Friday. The Semporna MP earlier said allegations that the government is attempting to give identity cards to undocumented immigrants through the legalisation programme are untrue. 

“This is not the State Government’s responsibility (to issue citizenship document). It is the responsibility of the Federal Government which I responded to in the answer raised in the parliament. 

“Only that I stated that there need to be comprehensive plan to enable to assist these children, like those whose parent is a Chinese married to non-Malaysian. 

“There is also a Chinese who married a Chinese from Peninsula Malaysia who is not a Sabahan and then cannot get document because he/she is not a Sabahan...us to penalise the Sabahan Chinese woman because she is a Sabahan and we don’t allow the children to have proper document,” he said. 

“(But) We can ask for the registration exercise (under the legalisation programme) to be made very transparent. 

“I did not say about children whose both parents are foreigners. If the father is a foreigner, the mother is a foreigner, they are not Malaysians, not Sabahans, by all means, send them back,” he said. 

On the opposition Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS) contention that it poses a danger to Sabahans interests, Mohd Shafie said he did not want to entertain that sort of thing. 

“Resolving the problem is more important. Sit down and listening to Jeffrey, it doesn’t help Sabahans,” he said, referring to GBS’ Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who is also President of Parti Solidariti Tanahairku (Star). 

According to Jeffrey, the people are so angry that they might resort to a massive demonstration soon if the proposal (legalisation programme) is not withdrawn. 

Dr Jeffrey said the amount of potential abuse that can arise from such an exercise is huge and will worsen the situation for the indigenous peoples of Sabah in terms of their already diminishing share of the State’s demographic. 

Photo Source: Bernama

 



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