PBS has been consistent in wanting to solve problem of undocumented migrants in Sabah, says party sec-gen

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Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said PBS has sought a meeting with the EC chairman to discuss its concern and are still waiting for it to materialise. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said PBS has sought a meeting with the EC chairman to discuss its concern and are still waiting for it to materialise. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KOTA KINABALU, Jan 11 — Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) has never wavered from the issue of undocument migrants in the state, said its secretary-general Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

Replying to the party’s former senator Dr Chong Eng Leong who had voiced his concern that the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 years may see a large portion of the electoral roll in Sabah consist of a new generation of migrants who illegally obtained citizenship under Project IC, Bangkuai said that the party was tackling the problem.

“Our party president has written a letter to the Election Commission asking it to only implement the ‘Undi18’ in Sabah after the State Electoral Rolls are cleared of dubious voters considering the large number of illegal immigrants in the state.

“In fact, PBS has sought a meeting with the EC chairman to discuss our concern and we are still waiting for it to materialise, despite numerous follow-ups,” said Bangkuai, who is also Kiulu Assemblyman.

He said that party president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili, who is also the minister in the prime minister’s department in charge of Sabah and Sarawak Affairs, had recently suggested that the issue be discussed by Sabah lawmakers via an inter-party select committee.

“We hope when the inter-party select committee is formed, it will not leave any stones unturned to determine the root of this problem and come up with proper solutions,” he said.

Project IC was a covert project allegedly carried out to grant citizenship to the migrant population in Sabah in the early 1990s, in order to gain votes for a change of government.

Dr Chong, a long-time activist who has spoken up against Project IC, said that PBS had previously been very vocal about Project IC since the mid-1990s but that Ongkili had not raised the subject recently.

“What is PBS’ stand now on this? I sincerely hope Maximus as the Federal Minister for Sabah and Sarawak Affairs is going to address this with the stakeholders and draw up a master plan to ‘solve’ all the problems related to immigrants in Sabah,” he said.

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