KUCHING, Oct 17 — State Reform (STAR) president Lina Soo today said she is appalled at Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg’s proposal to ease immigration rules for Sabahans entering Sarawak.
She said the state government should learn from Sabah where the local population has been swamped by illegal immigrants, claiming that easing entry conditions for Sabahans would allow these illegals to enter Sarawak.
“All Sarawakians will rise against this preposterous proposal were it to be approved by the Sarawak government,” Soo said when responding to remarks attributed to Abang Johari three days ago.
Speaking to reporters in Kota Kinabalu, the chief minister said the state government would have to conduct a study before allowing Sabahans to enter Sarawak freely.
Soo said immigration was among the state’s autonomous power that were agreed upon in the Inter-Governmental Report 1962, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and Federal Constitution.
She also called upon the Sarawak government to revert to 1963 requirements for all non-Sarawakians to produce passport for entry into the state.
She claimed it is an infringement upon the Sarawak territorial integrity to allow non-Sarawakians to enter without passports.
“If the Sarawak government is scared even to revive the passport ruling which was our original policy, how can they claim their efficacy to assert our Sarawak rights?” she asked.
“There must be no compromise over the state’s immigration rights, and the only way to secure our borders is to impose passport ruling not to emulate Sabah over its population re-engineering of locals by foreigners,” she said.
She said it is even more alarming to allow Sabahans free entry in the light of a recent announcement by Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal that 600,000 undocumented people would be given official papers.
“As has been proven in the past, it has been very easy to give ICs to non-Malaysians, so another risk is for non-Sabahans to be given Sabahan ICs and gain entry into Sarawak through Sabah,” she said.
She expressed surprise at DAP state lawmaker Violet Yong’s opposition to Abang Johari’s proposal.
Soo said Yong and other DAP lawmakers did not speak up when Jerlun MP Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said in Parliament last April that it was “ridiculous” for Malaysians to use passport to travel to Sarawak.
“Does the DAP lawmakers imply that they object to immigration rules being eased for Sabahans entering Sarawak, but do not object to our immigration autonomy to be abolished for Peninsular Malaysians?” she asked.
She asked Yong to clarify if the DAP’s silence to Mukhriz’s remarks in Parliament meant its agreement.