Sabah Star chief Jeffrey Kitingan has warned the Sarawak state government that it could be saddled with “immigration problems” if it is not careful in opening up to foreign labourers approved by the federal government. “The Sarawak government should learn from Sabah’s bitter lessons and tread with caution in opening up Sarawak to foreign labourers,” he said when commenting on the various responses regarding the federal approval of 12,000 Bangladeshi workers to work in Sarawak’s oil palm plantations. The first batch of 5,000 will arrive in the state in April.
Jeffrey stressed that the Sarawak government should retain control over the approval of foreign labour and impose its own terms and conditions, in accordance with the Sarawak Labour Ordinance and control of its immigration rights. “The state government should not let the federal government determine the approvals,” said Jeffrey - who is also the Bingkor state assemblyperson - in a statement. “Look and learn from the Sabah experience before it is too late so that Sarawak will not be like Sabah where there is an uncontrolled influx of Muslim foreigners. “Ultimately, the foreigners will be given Malaysian ICs and have voting rights in Sabah. And as they say, the rest is history,” warned Jeffrey. 'Changed forever' He said the demography of Sabah had been changed forever and the political franchise of the local natives was now taken over by foreigners who had been entered into the electoral rolls. He noted that the dubious issuance of Malaysian ICs not in accordance with the law and entry of ineligible foreigners into the electoral rolls started in the 1980s and 1990s to topple the ruling Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) government, were well documented and proven by witnesses as set out in the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) report. “At the moment, the local Dayaks - Ibans, Melanaus, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Kenyah, Lun Bawang - and other ethnic communities in Sarawak still enjoy a certain level of autonomy undisturbed by foreigners.
“This could all change very quickly if the Sarawak government does not control its immigration rights,” added Jeffrey. He stressed that no one could say for certain that the federal government would not do a similar reverse ethnic cleansing in Sarawak to displace and outnumber the local natives with Muslim foreigners. Expressing the hope that there was no such sinister intention, Jeffrey said that in Sabah, the situation had even gone to the stage where fake Sabahans with fake ICs - including Pakistanis - have been arrested in the peninsula. And more recently, several Pakistanis were arrested with fake long-stay social passes given by rogue Immigration officers in Sabah, he said, pointing out that the Sarawak government would do well to learn from Sabah’s past mistakes. “This is to ensure that only Sarawakians could chart their own future and destiny, and not by foreigners as in the case of Sabah now,” Jeffrey stressed.