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'Harris statement seems to justify population rise'
Published on: Saturday, June 14, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Reform Movement (APS) on Friday said the statement by former Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh that Sabah was once under the rule of Sultan Sulu seems to confirm the "systematic granting of citizenship to illegal immigrants" in Sabah.

Its President Datuk Seri Wilfred M. Bumburing said the statements by concerned Sabahans on illegal immigrants touched points of the law and the failure of the Federal Government in honouring the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.

He said that Harris, for the record, had insinuated that the Federal Government could easily grant citizenship to foreigners with a stroke of the pen.

"From all the evidence and details exposed during the hearing of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI), it is clear that many Malaysian ICs have been given out to foreigners without going through the due process of the law," he said.

The population statistics from 1960 to 2010, he said, show an unprecedented increase in the population of Sabah.

He said statistics of the North Borneo population in 1960 stated that Sabah's population was only 454,491 which comprised Dusun (Kadazans) 31.97 per cent, Bajau 13.14 per cent, Murut 4.87 per cent, other Bumiputera (Brunei, Kedayan, Orang Sungai, Bisaya, Suluk, Tidong and Sino-Native) 17.47 per cent, Chinese 23 per cent, European 0.42 per cent and Others (Filipino and Indonesian) 9.13 per cent.

However, in the 2010 population census, the population figures increased dramatically to 3,120,040.

The number comprised Kadazandusun 17.81 per cent, Bajau 14 per cent, Malays 5.71 per cent, Murut 3.23 per cent, other Bumiputera (breakdown not defined) 20,54 per cent, Chinese 9.10 per cent, Others (Non-Bumiputera, also not defined) 1.51 per cent, foreigners (Filipino and Indonesian) 27.79 per cent, and others, 0.31 per cent.

"Clearly there has got to be a concrete explanation to the increase in the population where it dramatically reduced the equation percentage of population among the indigenous Sabahans," said Bumburing.

Harris, he said, must remember that every citizen in Sabah has the right to fight for justice and equality.

"The law of the country must be upheld and the fundamental right of every citizen must be protected under the Malaysian constitution," he said.

But what is happening in Malaysia, he said, is that illegal immigrants could easily obtain citizenship while Malaysian Chinese are labelled as trespassers and asked to go back to their country of origin.

He said there is widespread feeling among the non-Muslim natives in Sabah that they are being sidelined and treated as second class Bumiputera.

It is under this scenario, he said, that APS is compelled to raise issues relating to race and religion as it affects the people's fundamental rights as citizens of Malaysia, contrary to Harris' opinion.

On June 11, Harris said YBs and officers who make statements should not use or single out Bangsa (race) as some VVIPs, VIPs and civil servants are of Suluk descent.

He said since Malaysia is a multi-racial country it is very dangerous to mention race all the time, as it will also jeopardise the 1Malaysia concept.

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