The Federal government must act now to resolve the problem of illegal immigration rather than later if the Barisan Nasional (BN) government were to appease the growing frustration and public discontent in Sabah.

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) secretary-general Henrynus Amin said the inclusion of illegal immigration in the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) was necessary to compel enforcement agencies to produce results.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala had recently said that the issue of illegal immigration was not one of the country’s six top priorities and therefore not included in the NKRA.

Henrynus said PBS feared the non-inclusion of the illegal immigrant issue in the NKRA would reinforce public opinion that the federal government was not interested or lacked the political will to act.

In this respect, he said PBS praised Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman for his foresight to have the special laboratory held in Sabah to signify the importance of the national security issues. “But the result of the laboratory must be disclosed now and acted upon. Otherwise, it may seen as mere window dressing, or at best, an academic exercise,” he said in a statement here Wednesday.

The special laboratory on foreign workers and illegal immigration involved participants from the relevant departments and agencies including the police, immigration, Attorney-General’s Chambers, Election Commission, local authorities, district offices and non-governmental organisation (NGOs).

PBS reiterated its support for the special laboratory as part of the party’s initiative to bring the issue of illegal immigration to the national agenda, he said.

Henrynus said PBS firmly believed the presence of a huge transient population in Sabah was a national problem which required national solutions and commitment. He said opposition propaganda were exploiting public fears of transient population by twisting and spinning the facts and the good intention of the government.

He said by supporting the special laboratory, PBS was being unfairly accused of being responsible for the proposal to hire illegal immigrants.

For the record, he said, PBS president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, was interviewed by the special lab committee where he clearly stated PBS’ policy of zero tolerance on illegal immigration.

He said Pairin did not mince his words when repeating his call for the issue of illegal immigrants to be resolved by 2012 and urged the authorities to include the issue in the NKRA in order to achieve results.

Henrynus said personal statements in the press perceived to be contrary to PBS official stand would not nullify PBS’ resolve to find ways and means to end the perennial problem of illegal immigration.

Source: The Star Online @ 3/8/2010.