KIMANIS, Jan 15 — A group Sabahans gathered in Membakut town today in objection to the controversial Sabah temporary pass(PSS), three days before the by-election here.
Around 400 people of diverse ages travelled from all over the west coast including the state capital to express their concern with the PSS.
A four-point roadblock along the west coast main road slowed crowds and traffic considerably but did little to assuage the angry attendees who showed up 90 minutes late.
Dressed in black T-shirts emblazoned with “Tolak PSS”, among others, they arrived in waves, some as early as 7am, chanting “bantah PSS” and “tolak PSS” when prompted, right to the end of the rally at 11.20am when police came to disperse the crowds.
The event was also a show of the Opposition’s solidarity, with leaders from several parties coming together including Kimanis’s Umno candidate Datuk Mohamad Alamin, Parti Bersatu Sabah information chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, Parti Solidarity Tanah Airku president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, MCA Sabah Wanita chief Pamela Yong, Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee and former Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman who all took to the stage to give speeches against the PSS, while backing Alamin as the candidate.
Bangkuai said his party was against PSS from the start because it did not address the number of foreigners in the state, but instead — according to him — encouraged them to multiply.
“Some have lived here for slightly more than ten years but they are getting more privileges than locals themselves.
“PSS is not part of their election manifesto, why implement it?” he said.
Yong in his speech said that since the government came into power they had done little to reassure the people that they would resolve the illegal immigrant issue.
“They approve pump boats, and there were concerns with the presence of the National Registration Department at the site of razed squatter colonies.
“The chief minister himself announced an island to host foreigners. Sabahans who apply for homes sometimes also get turned down,” he said.
Kitingan also said that allowing them to continue to live here would destroy the economy and change the social demographics, allowing their numbers to overtake native Sabahans.
He also claimed that the process could unwittingly register dubious individuals who are with the Islamic State movement or Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, which would endanger Sabah’s security.
Anifah also harped on problems with Sabah’s growing immigrant population, pointing out that polio was brought in from the neighbouring Philippines likely by the foreigners travelling in between the two countries freely.
He accused Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal of gambling with the next generation’s future via the PSS instead of tackling the bigger problems like convincing the Philippine government to drop their claim on Sabah.
Separately, Beaufort police chief Azmir Abdul Razak said that police arrested one individual for carrying a weapon — later identified to be a wooden stick — into the event.
“It was apparently meant to be for a performance but that did not materialise. We are still investigating to see whether there was any ill intent on his part,” he said.