KOTA KINABALU, July 1 — Local Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) reminded the Barisan Nasional (BN) of its longstanding failure to resolve the decades old influx of undocumented migrants in the state ahead of the coalition’s state convention here tomorrow.

PBS president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili lashed out at the coalition, blaming one of its components for triggering the flood of illegal immigrants by giving out Malaysian identity cards in exchange for votes since the 1970s.

Ongkili said that it was an abuse of rights and threatens the state’s sovereignty but stopped short of naming the BN party.

“One of the BN parties is responsible for it. I said it on stage. I don’t want to accuse any party but I am simply raising up the matter again as it was reported in the RCI and the meeting, and based on the testimonies given in the RCI report,” he said.

According to Ongkili, the issue is an open secret as “everyone“ knew who was behind the covert operation that awarded undocumented migrants Malaysian identity cards in return for their votes in elections, known as Project IC.

He stressed that action needed to be taken against the party, and that PBS has lodged police reports on the matter over the years.

“This is why I refer to the illegal immigrant problem as akin to hantu bangkit,” Ongkili said, using a Malay phrase that literally mean a haunting spectre.

He added that the present Sabah government led by Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor is better positioned to resolve this issue.

“Sorry to say, while under BN, they had a very poor record on sorting out the PTI issue in Sabah. There was no concrete action to solve the issue and since PBS inception in 1985 we have had nothing to show for it.

“The former BN government have failed to resolve this problem in Sabah. It’s as if they have no regards for the problems we face because of the many complications related to the undocumented migrants,” he said in his speech.

PTI means “pendatang tanpa izin“ in Malay, or illegal immigrants.

PBS left the BN coalition in 2018, following a dismal showing in GE14, but is currently allied with the current Perikanan Nasional-BN federal government.

Tomorrow’s convention will be held at Penampang ITCC.

National BN leaders like the coalition’s chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is also president of Umno, are expected to attend.