By DARELL LEIKING
LETTER: Claiming that the Sabah IC idea belongs solely to one party and should be off-limits to others is quite odd, especially when the rule seems to apply only to a particular political party.
I have never denied that the Sabah IC was first mooted by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee. I have said at several occasions before this that the idea (of a Sabah IC) was first formulated by Yong sometime back.
As such I am a bit puzzled by the swiftness of Yong’s statement accusing me of the ‘sin of copycatting’. Funnily enough though, he was not this efficient in calling out UPKO or other BN components when they also proposed the same idea.
Besides, when I said Sabah Card, we at Warisan have a very specific formula and methodology to go about it. And I believe that every Sabahan regardless of political allegiance will want a Sabah Card as a solution as well.
I like to quote Yong – “Darell cannot be sure if Warisan will agree to the Sabah Card formula to solve the illegal MyKad holder and other dubious documents issued to illegal immigrants by the Federal government. Darell should just join any of the parties in Gabungan Sabah.”
Hence, my response.
Last year the Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister had explained, in a written answer to a question I raised in Parliament, that any attempt to retract the existing MyKad (National IC) in Sabah could pose legal and constitutional risks, and the government as well as its agencies, could face an unparalleled torrent of legal action against them.
In the same written parliamentary reply by the Home Minister, the Minister had affirmed that the RCI Report also stated that several witnesses in the hearing had put forth the Sabah IC idea, but they could not provide the details on how the proposal can be implemented.
It is clear from the Minister’s answer that the Federal government had deemed it impossible to retract these MyKads.
The Federal government is wholly responsible for any issuance of the MyKad to illegal immigrants as the machinery and laws which govern such issuance of the MyKad are executed by the Federal Government. It is up to the Federal government to make a firm decision on how they want to resolve the issuance of the MyKad to dubious citizens.
We have seen how delayed their actions are over the RCI report and I firmly believe we will never know the whole truth over how many dubious citizens with MyKad are there despite the RCI.
Now the Federal Government should take full responsibility on resolving this outstanding problem over the MyKad but in Sabah, the State Government has the inherent legal right to issue the proposed Sabah Card.
This is because the State already has the powers and rights to register births and deaths pursuant to the Registration of Births & Deaths ordinances, to impose entry bans into Sabah by any non-Sabahan, to issue work permits for West Malaysians including to foreigners and to grant permanent residency status; all at the absolute discretion of the State government.
With all these powers vested in the State government of Sabah, why do we need permission from the Federal government to issue a Sabah Card!
When I said Sabah Card, I meant only for those who already have MyKad pursuant to the National Registration Act. Only they can apply for Sabah Card.
NO MYKAD; NO SABAH CARD
And No Sabahan without first having the MyKad can apply for this Sabah Card. With the stringent vetting that the Warisan Government will impose, I verily believe those who had obtained the MyKad illegally, or any dubious citizen, will not dare to apply for the Sabah Card. We propose that we will also utilise the laws available in Sabah such as the Registration of Births & Deaths Ordinance as well the Current methodology used by the Mobile Courts as part of our formula in issuing a Sabah Card.
Secondly, holders of the Sabah Card will have some privileges and perks such as the special lanes for immigration upon exiting and entering Sabah (a touch & go system) as well as possible nominal health benefit insurances (which the Warisan government may implement for all Sabahans dependent on the financial position of then Sabah government.
These and many more privileges and perks of having a Sabah Card would encourage Sabahans to apply for the Sabah Card.
The attraction for Sabah Card is, while we may not withdraw the MyKad (as such policies to withdraw may be challenged through the courts as affirmed by the written reply of the Home Minister) there is nothing wrong to issue a Sabah Card.
In addition, Warisan envisions giving many privileges to all Sabahans with the Sabah Card and with its sophisticated microchip (in each card), the same Card may also become a document to verify Sabahans who will be entitled to a revised new ‘Amanah Rakyat Sabah’ entitlement when we eventually revamp Yayasan Sabah.
As many will recall, the Amanah Raya Sabah was cancelled during the PBS Government era.
In fact, we in Warisan reiterate that we do not need any permission from the Federal government to issue a Sabah Card and any issuance of a Sabah Card will only be made at the application of those already having a MyKad.
- Darell Leiking serves as Member of Parliament for Penampang and is deputy president of Parti Warisan Sabah