Monday, October 6, 2008


Syed Hamid asked to resolve citizenship problems in Sabah


Former Chief Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Tun Said Keruak has appealed to the Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and the National Registration Department (NRD) Director-General to come to Sabah to hold “special closed-session meetings” with those having genuine citizenship problems as soon as possible in a move to solve it once and for all, thereby avoiding the issue being politicised. He said several political parties including Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) had joined the fray in expressing their dissatisfactions over the way the NRD in Sabah handled the matter, and the prolonged debate over the issue in the media might affect the good image of the ruling BarisanNasional (BN) Government. “It seems that one by one, people are coming forward with clear-cut evidence pertaining to their citizenship problems where the status of local Sabahans are downgraded to that of permanent residents (PRs). “This could be just a tip of the iceberg. Maybe more locals, especially those who are experiencing such problems, will do the same and this gives room to some people to take advantage of it for a political mileage. That’s why we don’t want this to go on,” he told Bernama, here yesterday. Salleh was commenting on the latest disclosure by SAPP Deputy President and Sepanggar MP Datuk Eric Majimbun who claimed that a MyKad holder from Kampung Pomotodon, Inanam, having his (Majimbun’s) family name with slightly different spelling (Majimbon), turned out to be a Filipino surnamed Maguil, and the man admitted obtaining the identity document a couple of years back. Majimbun was quoted on Sunday as saying that Maguil’s case was almost similar to that of 78-year old Yong Lee Hua from Penampang who lost her citizenship after losing her MyKad to a pickpocket last year, and the locally-born Bumiputera was later given permanent resident status. Surprised by the downgrading, the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO) then threatened to review its position in the BN if the matter was not rectified. As such, Salleh said the Federal Government, particularly the Home Ministry should view the matter seriously and take immediate action to remedy the situation. “We don’t want anymore the standard answer ‘we will look into it’. Many Sabahans are dissatisfied with the state NRD in handling the issue, not to mention the problems of illegal immigrants or illegal immigrants who obtained the MyKad through dubious means,” he said. According to statistics given by SAPP, in the 1970s, the Sabah population stood at 636,431 people and the number shot up by 285 per cent to 2,449,389 in 2000. - Bernama