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No need to ban Akmal yet, relocation of Pulau Gaya squatters likely: CM
Published on: Monday, April 08, 2024
By: Jonathan Nicholas
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No need to ban Akmal yet, relocation of Pulau Gaya squatters likely: CM
Hajiji presenting aid to Pulau Gaya folks.
Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor shrugged off calls by some Sabah leaders for Umno Youth Chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh to be banned from coming to Sabah.

“We leave scrutiny to the police. There is no move to ban him. But if he is a threat to the multicultural harmony here, then we will consider,” Hajiji said.

Parti Bersatu Sabah youth chief Christopher Mandut, Liberal Democratic Party President  Datuk Chin Su Phin and former foreign Minister and Sabah Umno Supreme Council member Tan Sri Anifah Aman called for those who incite hatred or engage in divisive politics to be barred from Sabah under the special internal immigration controls granted under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Several politicians from the peninsula such as Lim Kit Siang and Nurul Izzah Anwar have been turned away at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport under previous state governments. 

They felt that Akmal also falls into this category.

Akmal was detained and questioned for four hours soon after he landed at Kota Kinabalu International Airport Friday morning in relation to alleged offences under the Sedition Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act.

Two police reports were lodged against him.

He was on a one-day visit to attend an Iftar Ramadan event with Sabah Umno Youth leaders in Beaufort.

He continued his rant against the “Allah socks” issue and for a boycott of KK Mart convenience store over several pieces were on sale at an outlet.

This was despite the owner of the store being charged and apologising to the Agong, who also wanted the issue not to be prolonged. Three KKMart stores have been struck by Molotov cocktails but none of the perpetrators have been caught.

At the start of the socks issue, Dr Akmal posted a photo on Instagram of him holding a sword, with a caption that he would not change his stand and preferred to die standing.

The Sarawak Government said it would not ban Akmal from entering the State unless there is evidence that his visit had ulterior motives.

Hajiji was visiting Pulau Gaya for a Kembara Kasih Ramadan programme, Sunday, where Hari Raya assistance was given to a crowd that filled the SK Pulau Gaya hall.

He also said the State Government is mulling a Peoples Housing Project (PPR) in Sepanggar for locals squatting in Pulau Gaya as it has plans to turn the historical island into a tourism destination.

“There are already resorts around Pulau Gaya, so we want to maintain its cleanliness and safety.

“We don’t want squatter homes mushrooming…this (PPR) all depends on allocations from Federal,” he said.

 He said the Putatan Parliament Office under Deputy Chief Minister III Datuk Shahelmey Yahya also planned to build a Health Clinic on the island.  

Pulau Gaya served as the headquarters of the British North Borneo Chartered Company (BNBCC) after its first outpost at Pulau Balambangan in the 1800s regularly came under attack by pirates.

It was then moved to Kudat and later to Pulau Gaya where administration offices, police base and even a court to hear cases were established, as recorded in the book “Makan Siap” by historian Maxwell Hall. 

The BNBCC moved to Api Api on the mainland after the settlement was attacked by Mat Salleh. In 1905, its operations were conducted from the building which later became the Lands Office and was destroyed in a fire in 2000.

This building was also where the BNBCC transferred the colony of British North Borneo (now Sabah) to the Queen of England after the war in 1946, becoming the very last addition to the British Empire.

All that is left of the building beside the Hong Kong Bank now are pillars and Hajiji recently announced plans to restore the site to its original form due to its historical importance. 

Meanwhile, Petagas Assemblyman Datuk Awang Ahmad Sah Awang Sahari also presented school fees assistance to 70 pupils from his office.

Later, Hajiji together with Awang Ahmad Sah, Shahelmey, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Ariffin Arif and Yayasan Sabah Director Datuk Ghulam Haidar Bahadar Khan presented Aidil Fitri contributions to the community. 

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Keywords:
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