KIMANIS, Jan 16 — Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has challenged Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan to take legal action on him if it he was denying claims that the Sabah Resident Pass was among his proposal when chairing a state technical committee on illegal immigrants back in 2016.
In yet another public exchange on the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS), the Parti Warisan Sabah president said that he had proof in the form of meeting minutes from Pairin’s committee on March 14, 2016.
“He’s not telling the truth. I’m only revealing what was in the minutes of the meeting that was chaired by Pairin in 2016, but last night, he said I was lying and there are no such minutes,” he said when speaking to reporters at an event in Bongawan.
Shafie said that the meeting minutes were clear, and he was not making statements up.
“I am wouldn’t make this up, don’t say I’m lying,” he said as he presented minutes of the meeting for cameras.
The two camps involved in the Kimanis by-election have been going back and forth on the PSS which the opposition has been objecting to.
The Warisan and Pakatan Harapan government has rubbished their protests, claiming that they were just following through with the idea had come from the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, through a committee chaired by Pairin.
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that the proposal was brought to the attention of then home minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and BN had intended to implement it but could not because they lost the last general election.
Pairin had at an opposition rally last night said that Shafie was lying and there was no such proposal.
Zahid also denied that he or the Cabinet had ever discussed the matter.
When asked by reporters today, Shafie reiterated that the current government had improved on the previous proposal called the Sabah Resident Pass and renamed it PSS to avoid any misconceptions of them being accorded “resident” status.
“We don’t want to just reject any proposals just because they’re from the previous administration. Those that are good, we take them, and make them better,” he said.
The PSS has been a hotly-debated topic since before the Kimanis by-election but has since become the crux of the opposition campaign.
The concerns are that the documentation system would allow for undeserving foreigners to obtain citizenship and or be accorded status of that of a local. Opposition players have also brought up concerns that the PSS does not address the problems of illegal immigrants but would instead encourage them to stay in Sabah and allow their children to be citizens.
The PSS, due for implementation this June, is meant to replace three documents issued since the 1970s to foreigners who were mostly refugees from Southern Philippines in the state — the IMM13, the sijil burung burung and census card.
Some 136,000 holders of these documents are eligible for the PSS.
Polling day is on January 18. — — —