Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Migrants with "citizenship" outnumber Sabahans - Investigation, Solution needed now

The problem in Sabah has been going on for some time - and Federal government is being blamed for allegedly giving out citizenships to foreign nationals - possibly to change the population composition of Sabah - so much so that never again will Christian(or non-Muslim) parties be able to govern Sabah. Maybe that may not have been the motive but those given 'citizenship' in this manner may also be 'loyal' to the those who gave for a long time always knowing that if some investigation is done, it will be shown that there is something wrong and citizenship may be revoked.

It is not just Filipinos - it is a lot of people including also Pakistanis and Indian Muslims.

In some towns, it seems that the migrant population (and their descendants) are more than the original locals.

SAPPs concern about the 'migrant problem' is something that many Sabahans see as a problem - and is a real problem.

Deportation of new undocumented migrants is not the solution..

There really must be some very deep and serious investigations into what some people called the "Project Mahathir" - where the end result has been a serious alteration of the ethnic/religious/cultural composition of the people of Sabah.

And what is the solution - because many of the affected are now 2nd and 3rd generation of the persons wrongly given nationality or PR status.

Federal BN government continues to ignore or just pretend that it is nothing more than the same undocumented migrant issue that is also faced by Peninsular Malaysia.

Sabah chief rejects permanent resident status for Filipinos

Asia News Network
First Posted 17:07:00 07/07/2008

KOTA KINABALU, Philippines -- Sabah has rejected a Manila proposal that Filipino nationals living in the state for a long time be given Malaysian permanent resident (PR) status.

“We are not going to issue such PR status freely as we have regulations and guidelines for such matters,” Chief Minister Musa Aman told reporters here over the weekend.

He said the issuance of permanent resident status should follow the laws and guidelines of both the federal and state governments and cannot be given freely without applicants following the required procedures.

Musa was responding to the call by Philippine Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos, who proposed that Filipinos residing in Malaysia for many years be accorded permanent resident status.

According to Conejos, most of the 200,000 Filipinos in Malaysia were in Sabah.

The Philippines seeks to regularize the status of two types of Filipinos in Malaysia: 56,000 Filipinos and their scions who have been granted refugee status by Malaysia during the Mindanao conflict in the 1970s and an undetermined number of Filipinos who have lived, borne children, and known no other life outside Malaysia for the past 30 years, Conejos said.

The suggestion came after Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said immigrants who have lived unlawfully in Sabah since the 1970s would not be spared.

Former chief minister Yong Teck Lee late last week said Conejos’s proposal was “irresponsible,” adding that “it is an indication” the Philippine government was “not looking after the welfare of (its) own citizens.”

Chief Minister’s Department Nasir Tun Sakaran said it was inconceivable for Malaysia to simply accept Filipino nationals on the basis that they had been staying in Sabah for a long time.

Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister V. K. Liew, who is also the Liberal Democratic Party president, said Conejos’ remarks were only a suggestion that Malaysia had every right to ignore.

Musa said Sabah was not against having migrant workers in the state, as they were needed to help in various sectors, particularly in the agriculture and construction industries.

“We want such workers to be properly documented with legal passes,” he said.

Conejos has said that while the Philippines recognizes Malaysia's sovereign right to decide who will stay and who chased out, the basic rights of the deportees should be observed.

The Amnesty International on Friday urged Malaysia to revise its plan to drive out Filipino and Indonesian illegal immigrants, saying the “simplistic and arbitrary action of mass crackdown” would “elevate the ongoing human rights and humanitarian concerns in Sabah and the region to a serious crisis level."

Amnesty said the immigrants include a large number of asylum seekers and refugees who had fled from the conflict-ridden Mindanao region in the southern Philippines to Malaysia's eastern Sabah state on Borneo island.

In addition, many are stateless people and migrants who had lived in Sabah for more than a decade, including children who now risk being expelled, it said.

Amnesty cited concerns such as cruel treatment of detainees, punishment including flogging under immigration laws, and lack of adequate health care in detention for women, children and other vulnerable groups.

In 2002, it said reports indicated that mass deportations of undocumented migrants led to deaths of children due to dehydration and disease in Sabah's detention centers.

Malaysian authorities estimated there are some 130,000 illegals in Sabah. But the state's politicians insist the real figure is several times that, and claim that foreigners outnumber Malaysians in some provinces.

The issue has long been a bitter grievance for Sabah politicians, who accuse the federal government of failing to oust job-seeking foreigners after their permits expire.

The Philippines has a long-standing claim over Sabah.

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