Sabahans should thank Madius for supporting PSS: Harris
Published on: Saturday, January 11, 2020
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Kota Kinabalu: Former Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Mohd Salleh said Sabahans should be thankful to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Madius Tangau for supporting and agreeing to legalise everyone in Sabah under the proposed Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) exercise.

He said by law those holding the IMM13, Kad Burung-Burung and Census Certificate who have been living in Sabah the last 20 years are eligible for citizenship.  This is the requirement of the Federal Constitution and United Nations, he claimed, adding the motive and intentions of opposition leaders could not be understood as it appeared they wanted to maintain cheap labour and slavery.

He was referring to opposition leaders who – including Umno, PBS and SAPP – opposed the Federal and State Governments decision to issue the PSS on June 1 to amalgamate all the various documents given to workers and refugees over the last 30 years as well as to those undocumented or illegally staying and working in Sabah.    

According to Harris, Madius who is also State Trade and Industry Minister Minister understands better and appreciates the need for foreign workers in various industries in Sabah.  

“He is being pragmatic, fair and just for the need to legalise the illegals in the State as this will resolve the long outstanding issue of Sabah foreign workers,” he said.

Harris said the decision to issue PSS to about 200,000 people, as stated by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal at the Sabah Legislative Assembly sitting, recently, is to legalise everybody working or living in Sabah.  

“This is also for security and stabilisation of Sabah’s multi-racial population. Importantly, as everybody identified through cards will reduce criminal and wrong doings. The employers are happy as their workers are properly documented, registered and identified. The workers, knowing that they can be traced for any criminal or wrong doings, will be more responsible and working very hard and become more productive.

“Once these undocumented or illegals have identification cards, it will stop them from entering northern Sabah bordering the Sulu Archipelago and also the border with Kalimantan where people are free to move between Long Bawang and Lumbis Ogong districts (Indonesia) and Pensiangan and Long Pasia (Malaysia). 

“The days of cheap labour and slavery are over. The proposed issuance of PSS will automatically wipe out cheap labour and slavery. Every worker will have identification and, therefore, not subject to manipulation by employers. Without any document they are subject to being supressed with very low salary or even treated as slaves, as these people cannot move around. With cards in their hands they are free to look for better job and pay,” he said.

Harris said Sabah needs these workers particularly in plantation and constructions industries, as Sabahans are shy of working in both these categories. 

He said there are more than 300,000 Sabahans working in Malaya or Singapore. Which is equal to the number of foreign workers whether legal or illegal in Sabah. 

“These Sabahans will not return to Sabah and fill the gap of foreign workers. This is happening throughout the world. Locals prefer to work outside their own country and foreigners fill the vacancies. Just near to Sabah, Thailand with a population of 100 million are employing a few million foreign workers from Indo China and Bangladesh,” he said. Harris said almost all those to be given PSS are of Malay stock “whose ancestors a few hundred years ago owned half of Sabah – Eastern side while Brunei owned the Western side”. 

“There are about 300,000 Bruneian descendants living in Sabah. The Suluks are being displaced because they are being identified with their brothers in the southern Philippines. Bearing in mind also that the Philippines is still keeping their claim on Sabah alive. The Malaysian Government is believed to be still paying rental money RM5,000 a year to descendants of the Sulu Sultan,” he said.


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