Yong: MyKad meaningless if foreigners can acquire it easily
Published on: Friday, June 21, 2013
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Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee said the Mykad currently is meaningless to Sabahans because any Filipino, Indonesian and Pakistani can possess the document by buying it. Hence, there was a need to introduce a Sabah IC so that "while the Malaysian Government is free to make any foreigner a Malaysian, it will not make these people Sabahan."

Waving his Mykad, which he said does not even have a "H" as Sabahans are entitled to, he recalled an occasion when he was detained for half an hour at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport by a young Immigration officer who apparently did not know that he happened to be a former Chief Minister while others.

In this context, he claimed it is a breach of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, Clause VIII, for the Federal Government to grant Sabahan status to foreigners through the issuance of Mykads.

"The Federal Government can award citizenship to any number of foreigners as it is within their power. But it has no power to grant citizenship to foreigners and make them Sabahans by issuing the '12' digit in the MyKad.

"Only Sabah has the power to grant Sabahan status to other Malaysians.

Hence, it is unfair for illegal immigrants to get Malaysian ICs with the '12' digit when they are not born in Sabah and given the MyKad as well as citizenship."

He said these foreigners might be Malaysians but they are definitely not Sabahans. "A Pakistani claimed he was born in Kg Bambangan and other villages in Kota Marudu and obtained the MyKad with the '12 digit'," he said.

Another famous case, Yong cited was how an illegal stated that he was born in Kg BDC in Sandakan in 1970s, when no such village existed at that time.

Yong, who is Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President said issuing Sabah ICs to genuine Malaysians born in Sabah is workable to differentiate between locals and foreigners as well as stopping them from easily obtaining citizenship as well as privileges that should be entitled to Sabahans.

Responding to Datuk Stephen Foo from SLA, he said the proposed Sabah IC is not a new citizenship document as it is for use in Sabah and that the genuine Sabahans will be able to enjoy scholarships, lands and other benefits meant for them.

"There is an urgent need to implement such a move as the issuance of Malaysian ICs to illegals has reached the 'I.C.U' (alarming) stage.

"The Federal Government seems not serious in tackling this perennial issue.

"In fact, the Federal Government had not responded to the party's two memorandums in 1999 and 2006 explaining the magnitude of the problem and recommended actions to resolve it.

"If they really want to solve it, it can be done because if there is political will, more creative solutions can be formulated," he said when testifying as the 129th witness at the hearing of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the huge presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah, here, Thursday.

Yong who was Chief Minister from 1996 to 1998 said the idea of issuing Sabah ICs came up even before the setting up of RCI when Sabahans had lost hope in the Federal Government to solve the problem.

"If the Federal Government is not keen to solve the perennial problem, then we (Sabah) should help ourselves by practicing self-help and use our mechanism to produce the Sabah ICs and enforce the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

"Sabah through its State Legislative Assembly can pass a new ordinance that can be called Malaysian Registration Ordinance for this purpose and create a State National Registration Department to handle the issuance," he said.

Under the proposed ordinance, Yong explained genuine Sabahans are those persons and their descendants who were in Sabah (North Borneo) on August 31, 1963 and became automatic citizens under the terms of the Malaysia Agreement.

He said the Sabah ICs could also be issued to Sabahans who are staying outside the State like in Kuala Lumpur.

"Let the law take its course but the law must be enforced. If this proposal is to be implemented, then the first three years can focus on issuing the Sabah ICs to genuine Malaysians in Sabah.

"Subsequently, we can look at other Malaysians from the peninsula and Sarawak who have migrated to Sabah and have good records like having no criminal records, can be eligible to apply.

"In addition, foreigners who have been in Sabah for number of years and possessing proper documents as well as good records can also be considered to apply for the Sabah ICs by giving the '71' digit," Yong said.

To a question by Datuk John Sikayun who is holding a watching brief for the Sabah Law Association, Yong reiterated that immigration and land are State matters under the Malaysian Agreement, and thus foreigners can be Malaysians but not Sabahans.


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