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2008 Nov 1 - Sapp: Take illegal immigrant issue seriously

Sapp: Take illegal immigrant issue seriously

Tony Thien | Nov 1, 08 11:33am: The Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) has again issued a stern warning to the federal government - don't insult the intelligence of Sabahans by ignoring the problems plaguing their state.

The former BN component party wants the government to summon strong "political will" to resolve the perennial problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah.

richard yong sapp sec genIn a statement to Malaysiakini yesterday, the party's secretary-general Richard Yong responded to Minister in the Prime Ministerís Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz's statement in Parliament that immigrants from the Philippines and Indonesia had contributed to a drastic rise in the population of the state between 1970 and 2000.

Nazri had said this in a written reply to Sepanggar MP Eric Majimbun's question during his debate on the national budget in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday on the latterís inquiry on the increase in Sabah's population by a whopping 285 per cent, based on the Population and Housing Census for 1970 and 2000.

Yong said Sabahans donít want reminders of the facts and figures.

"What we want is a genuine and comprehensive solution to the perennial problem, with a specific time frame, and not just another academic answer as the problem has existed for more than three decades now and has inflicted immense suffering to the people of Sabah," he said.

A perennial problem   

Yong added that the minister must take responsibility if he fails to handle and resolve the problem. He also reminded the government of its responsibility to safeguard the sovereignty of the country.

Since it pulled out of the BN in September, Sapp has been a vocal critic of both the federal and state governments, especially on the issue of illegal immigrants and the issuance of identity cards to thousands of illegals in Sabah.

Locals say the government has only been paying lip service and doing very little to seriously tackle the problem and its reluctance to address the issue has resulted in the state becoming inundated with illegal immigrants, some of whom have even become Malaysian Ďcitizensí after obtaining false identification documents.


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