KOTA KINABALU, Jan 22 — The Warisan government of Sabah will propose to the Home Ministry that a highly contentious travel document for foreign immigrants is cancelled.
State Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said his Cabinet arrived at the decision to do away with the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) after taking into consideration the many objections raised before and during the Kimanis parliamentary by-election, in which the party lost to Barisan Nasional.
“After reviewing what happened, we decided today that we should cancel the PSS. The voice of the rakyat, not just from the by-election, were heard loudly and cannot be ignored.
“We will officially inform the Home Ministry of the decision and will decide on the next course of action. But as of now, we recommend that the exercise not go ahead as of June this year as planned,” he told reporters here.
“We heard their voice loud and clear. It was especially clear in the KDM areas and we cannot take it lightly,” he said. KDM is the acronym for Kadazan, Dusun, Murut and refers to non-Muslim natives.
He said that the state government will discuss the matter with the Home Ministry by next week and acknowledged it will be a joint decision to cancel it.
“This is what the people want,” he said.
When asked what the people were unhappy with, Shafie said that there was a misconception that the PSS was a form of documentation akin to an identity card.
“They thought that when the document is issues it will be issued with an IC... that is totally wrong. With sincerity, we take into account the state interest. We don’t want to be misconstrued,” he said
“We leave it to the Home Ministry to see their take on it and listen to their recommendation and proposal on this. We cannot do this on our own,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shafie said that work permits for foreigners and other business will go on as usual to keep industries working.
“We don’t want people to worry about this,” he said.
In the recent Kimanis by election, the government’s candidate from Parti Warisan Sabah Datuk Karim Bujang lost to Barisan Nasional’s Umno candidate Datuk Mohamad Alamin by 2,029 votes. Mohamad polled 12,706 to Karim’s 10,677.
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