KIMANIS, Jan 15 — Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has dismissed the protest this morning against the controversial Sabah temporary pass (PSS) saying it did not represent the local Kimanis community nor the majority of Sabahans.
Shafie, who is also Parti Warisan Sabah president, also said that an election period was not the time for protests.
“Are they from Kimanis or elsewhere in Sabah?” he said to a question about the rally this morning which garnered some 500 signatures against the yet-to-be implemented immigrant documentation.
“Anyhow, an election is not the space for a protest. This time is for campaigning,” he said to reporters at a Chinese New Year celebration here.
Earlier today, Opposition leaders and some 500 Sabahans gathered at the Membakut old town in a rally against PSS.
The rally-goers, clad in black, came from all over Sabah, some as early as 7am to express their views.
Deputy home minister Datuk Azis Jamman, who accompanied Shafie at the event today also said that the event could not be considered a representation of Sabah or the Kimanis constituents.
“Today police told me the numbers were around 300, including many outsiders. This is not the voice of Kimanis, or the majority of Sabahans. How can you say they rejected PSS?” he said.
He said even the objection on social media was more likely the work of Umno “cyber-troopers”.
“I know how they work. One person holds ten accounts. So should we listen to that?” he asked.
“Let Sabahans judge us three years from now, see if we can at least partly clean up the problem. Don’t just listen to the Barisan Nasional, who have lost and are now the Opposition.”
The PSS has been the crux of the Opposition’s campaign rhetoric here in the Kimanis by-election, playing on local fears that the documentation system would increase an increase in foreigners in the state, eventually granting them citizenship.
The state and federal government has repeatedly reassured Sabahans that the pass would only be extended to existing document holders while promising added security features.