KUCHING, Oct 17 — Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) today clarified that Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg never at any point suggested a relaxation for Sabahans to enter Sarawak without the stringent immigration control.
“The office wishes to clarify that what the chief minister had said in response to a reporter’s question in Kota Kinabalu recently did not in any way suggest that such a relaxation would be implemented without thorough and careful considerations of the social and geopolitical conditions including problems of refugees,” the CMO said in a statement.
CMO issued the statement in the light of criticisms by Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) a component party of the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and State Reform Party (STAR) over a purported report attributed to the chief minister.
SUPP president Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian had said he did not agree with any proposal to allow Sabahans to enter the state without any condition.
He said the party had always remained firm in safeguarding the state’s immigration autonomy which is non-negotiable.
STAR president Lina Soo was reported as saying the Sarawak government should learn from the Sabah situation where the local population has been swamped by illegal immigrants, and that easing entry conditions for Sabahans would allow such immigrants to enter Sarawak.
She said immigration entry was the state’s autonomous power which was agreed upon during negotiations for the formation of the Federation of Malaysian and it is inked in the Inter-Governmental Report 1962, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and Federal Constitution.
She also called upon the Sarawak government to revert to 1963 where passports have to be produced by non-Sarawakians upon entering the state.