KOTA KINABALU, May 13 — Parti Solidarity Tanahairku (STAR) president Datuk Jeffrey G. Kitingan called on Sabahans to unite against a possible influx of immigrants waiting to be absorbed into the system following the swearing-in of a new chief minister last night.
Kitingan, who was appointed deputy chief minister under Tan Sri Musa Aman’s state Cabinet, said that Sabah could see another flood of immigrants following “the euphoria of the immigrant community” with the appointment of Warisan’s president, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, as the latest chief minister.
This was a thinly veiled reference to Shafie’s Bajau and Suluk bloodline, which some Kadazandusun and Momogun groups consider inferior.
Musa was sworn in about 48 hours earlier, but subsequently lost the majority after a few assemblymen crossed over to Warisan.
“This development is a challenge to the pan-Sabah community comprising the Chinese and Momogun community and others,” he said.
He added the new “flood” of immigrants who are holding “work passes and IMM13 documents, now expecting the Warisan government to issue them MyCards as soon as possible. “
“They are already unable to control themselves from expressing their excitement for this prospect in the social media,” he said in a statement here.
Kitingan said he was not against immigrants who obtain citizenship through legal means, but was cautioning against the “sudden escalation” of immigrants from Southern Philippines who came to Sabah as political refugees and others who came under the United Sabah National Organisation rule and later accorded native status.
He said, in view of this “imminent danger”, the community of “genuine” Sabahans must now rally together to protect their rights and autonomy by stopping a drastic change in our demography.
“Most importantly, it’s way past the time for the former KDM-based BN parties and those in the opposition before GE14 to come back to the roots and form a new pan-Sabah solidarity,” he said.
“Along with the non-KDM based parties, the components of the Gabungan Sabah should now sit down to discuss the immediate formation of a Sabah political coalition.
“I have heard that some of the KDM assemblymen who have decided to join the Warisan pact to form the government are now re-thinking their decision in view of their obvious conflict of interests as politicians who are supposedly fighting for their future of their people,” he said.
With regards to his decision to team up with Tan Sri Musa to form a government pact, he deeply regretted that his own people have loudly condemned his action as a betrayal to his voters and his people.
“Despite their initial anger, many KDMs who were calling me ‘katak’ as if it is the dirtiest word in Sabah politics, are now realising that I was acting in the interests and future of my people,” he said.
“As I have already said, I made the decision after seeing the illegal immigrants celebrating Warisan’s election wins, loudly in the streets of the state capital. I was further convinced to make the pact after getting the agreement from Tan Sri Musa for us to kick Umno and BN out Sabah, implement Sabah IC and continue the fight for Sabah’s right and autonomy.
“Eventually, people will be reminded and made to see that in all my political struggles, I had done nothing less than to fight for Sabahan rights,” he added. “But let’s not wait for the distant future to do the right things. The time to act is now when the ominous challenge stares at us in the face,” he said.