KOTA KINABALU: May 24, 2008 By Muguntan Vanar
The issue of Sabah’s illegal immigrants appears to have put Parti Bersatu Sabah leaders at odds with each other.
Outspoken PBS supreme council member Dr Chong Eng Leong wants the party to support the opposition motion for a Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants associated with Project IC or more popularly dubbed Project Dr M.
Chong said that the proposal for a commission of inquiry by DAP’s Lim Kit Siang was not anti-Barisan or pro-Pakatan Rakyat but a matter of defending the sovereignty of Sabah within Malaysia.
He said that a Parliamentary Select Committee on Sabah illegal immigrants was not going to work, as a previous similar committee headed by Tan Sri Bernard Dompok failed to get relevant agencies to give replies to hard questions on the identity card issue.
He described his party’s deputy president Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili’s efforts in pushing for solutions to the illegal immigrant problem after becoming a federal minister in 2004 as a disappointment.
Chong said that Dr Maximus had blocked him from representing PBS to present memos on illegal immigrant papers to Suhakam and also the Parliamentary Select Committee on Unity between 2004 and 2006.
“Dr Maximus is only interested in self advancement,” he alleged and accused his deputy president of trying to stop Sabah MPs from voting for the Royal Commission of Inquiry motion that was disallowed by Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee.
He said Dr Maximus had told him in late 2001 that once PBS returned to Barisan, the illegal immigrant problem would be solved but since becoming a minister he had been advising Parti Bersatu Sabah president Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan against PBS sending in memorandums to various groups as it was tantamount to stabbing Barisan in the back again.
He said that the issue was serious and with Sabah holding up the Federal Government’s majority in Parliament, it was important for the state and its political parties to pursue issues pertaining to Project IC.
“What is there to hide? We can reason out with the Prime Minister,” he added