Friday, July 18, 2014

Sabah’s security problems are a consequence of Dr Mahathir’s ICs handout

Published: 17 July 2014

A Sabah leader has put the blame on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) over the a series of intrusions into the Borneon state, pointing out the security problems were the result of giving identity cards to illegal immigrants during his administration.
Angkatan Perubahan Sabah president Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing said there is a large number of illegal immigrants in state and a total control of the state's east coast will not resolve security threats.
"Who gave them ICs in the first place? It was Dr Mahathir," he said in referring to the former prime minister who helmed the government for 22 years until 2003, 
"The security problem faced by Sabahans now is a direct product of the policy of the government, especially during Dr Mahathir time, in giving ICs illegally to the illegal immigrants," he said in a statement today.

Sabah had experienced a series of intrusions, the latest being the security breach on Pulau Mabul, off Semporna, which led to the death of one policeman and the kidnap of another.

Wilfred said the proof of this was part of the information provided to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) which was set up in September 2012 to probe problems related to illegal immigrants in the state, including the issuance of Malaysian documents to Muslim illegal immigrants under a scheme known as Project IC.

The Commission called 211 witnesses to the proceedings and had submitted its findings to the Yang di-Pertuan Agon, although the report has yet to be made public despite calls from the Opposition.

"This is  a case as in the Malay proverb  'Pisau makan tuan'. The people who suffer are not the people in Peninsular Malaysia, but Sabahans.

"With the presence of the large numbers of illegal immigrants in Sabah a total control of the east coast Sabah will not totally solve the security threat. They are everywhere in Sabah and they can strike anywhere at any time," he said.

The Tamparuli assemblyman shot down Dr Mahathir's suggestion to resettle people living in water villages to prevent further intrusion, saying that the former prime minister does not understand the Borneon state's cultural and social sensitivities.

He said the former premier's proposal would impact the livelihoods and the way of life of the people who had resided in water villages their entire lives.

"The suggestion by Dr Mahathir to demolish all water villages in Sabah is not only impractical, but also very costly.

"From his statement, it is clear that Dr Mahathir does not have a clear understanding of the cultural and social situation in Sabah, especially with regards to those people residing in the water villages which exist throughout Sabah".

Dr Mahathir had said yesterday that Putrajaya's initiative to beef up Sabah's coastline security will not work if intruders continue to use these villages.

He had said water villages have always been the unofficial entry point into the state and illegals on boats were free to land in the villages without anyone noticing.

"At night, the smuggling of goods and arms can be done and they are then kept in the homes in these villages. As long as there are water villages, Sabah will not be safe from terrorist intrusions and smuggling.

"It is very embarrassing when Malaysia cannot stop terrorists from entering its territory. It is time for the people in water villages to be placed in a safer place on land.

"The cost will be high, but I believe Malaysia which can afford to spend billions of ringgit on unimportant projects can handle this," the statesman wrote in his blog.

In November last year, Taiwanese tourist Chang An Wei was abducted from the Pom Pom island resort while her partner, Li Min Hsu was shot dead. Chang was freed a month later after a substantial ransom was paid to the Abu Sayyaf via intermediaries.

On April 2, a group of seven armed men kidnapped Chinese tourist Gao Hua Yuan, 29, from Shanghai, and Filipino resort employee, Marcy Dayawan, 40, from the Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort at  about 10.30pm. Gao and Marcy were subsequently released.

Last month, two workers, caretaker, Chan Sai Chiun, 32, from Perak, and a worker of Suluk descent, identified only as Mazlan in his 20, were abducted from a fish farm in Kunak, Tawau. Mazlan managed to escape by jumping into the sea from his abductors' speedboat. – July 17, 2014.

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