NOW THE WAR IS LONG GONE, DO WE STILL NEED TO ISSUE SUCH PASSES? SURELY ABUSES ARE RAMPANT AS MOST AFTER ALL THESE YEARS CAN ONLY BE CATEGORISED AS ILLEGALS AND NOT REFUGEES ANY MORE. RIGHTLY THE ISSUANCE OF THE IMM13 PASSES WAS SUSPENDED SINCE 2013 BUT QUIETLY RENEWED EARLY THIS MONTH
COMMENT: There was no official announcement on the matter.
But, somehow these people seemed to know better than most; word is many even started to queue up as early as 4am at the Dang Bandang office complex in Kampung Air in Kota Kinabalu.
Then the videos started going viral showing crowds of people rushing into the complex, throwing caution to the wind, so much so, even the security personnel at the entrance could not do anything.
All kinds of stories started to surface, everything went into overdrive on the matter. Most were wild allegations and anger ruled. The opposition did not need a second invitation to fuel the rumour mill.
What was happening?
It turned out as explained by the Immigration Department that these people were rushing to renew their IMM13 passes or to apply new passes for their children.
This took most people by surprise. And questions were asked.
Was this part of the State government’s effort to provide some sort of documentation to identify and record the illegal population of Sabah and then later giving them citizenship?
IMM13 is a visitor pass issued by the Department to Filipino refugees who entered Sabah between 1972 and 1984 during the civil war in the Southern parts of their country. Something like 55,000 passes has been issued.
Holders can stay in Sabah and Labuan without work pass; their children if registered can attend school, and government has also extended medical services to them.
Now the war is long gone, do we still need to issue such passes? Surely abuses are rampant as most after all these years can only be categorised as illegals and not refugees any more.
Rightly the issuance of the IMM13 passes was suspended since 2013 but quietly renewed early this month.
So, who gave the authority to the Immigration Department to lift the ban?
Did the chief minister and his cabinet give the authorisation?
Apparently there was no such thing; the chief minister himself was shocked when he heard this during his visit to Kuching a few days ago as it was not even discussed at the recent state security meeting, nor raised at Cabinet level.
Of course he then instructed the exercise to be halted immediately which the department has duly complied. Musa Sulaiman, the directly of the Sabah Immigration Department issued a brief statement to that effect.
Now, this is a serious matter if ever there was one, as the implication of the whole exercise is huge.
The department should have liaised with the state authorities on this.
Or was the decision, made independently of the state government’s knowledge, was the kind of sabotage the Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, is talking about faced by the PH government at the federal level. Obviously many officers who are loyal to the previous regime are still entrenched in the various departments.
The state government cannot take this matter lightly; it must get to the bottom of it and leave no stone unturned.
Sabah’s security and well-being cannot be compromised by fools.
If there is justification, heads must roll.
The officers responsible must be hanged, drawn and quartered.
WE CAN ASK – WHAT’S THE POINT OF INCITING CONTROVERSY BY MANUFACTURING ABSURD STORIES; THAT’S HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED NOW. PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING IN POLITICS; ABSURD STORIES DOES ATTRACT ATTENTION IN CYBER SPACE
It’s the opposition’s job to throw water in the government’s face, no matter how well intentioned you are; they will find ways to turn the tables on you.
It is obvious, the clear strategies employed by the opposition in Sabah is to work on the KDM community by creating fear and anxiety among them that the Warisan-led government is out to revive the IC project, using backroom tactics to achieve this.
The idea is to destabilise the state government by planting seeds of doubt among them about the illegals (PTI). The sad part is that even educated KDM people tend to believe such untruths.
When the chief minister, Shafie Apdal, visited Keningau for “A Day with the Chief Minister” event recently, the huge crowds that turned up at the JPN (National Registration Department booth, as well as that of the mobile court, to sort out late birth registration woes and such like, quickly became in the social media PTIs swarming these booths for Malaysian Identity Cards.
It had nothing to do with the illegals of course; many people forgot that it was the Chief Justice of Malaysia, Richard Malanjun who actually initiated the mobile court in March 2007 to look into late birth registration in Sabah; so far 40,000 cases were settled since the inception of the mobile court, and this involved mainly the KDM groups.
The crowds were there for that purpose among other things, and were largely locals.
Of course the idea of the opposition is to repeat until the lie is believed by the majority then it becomes the truth.
With more democratic space these days, the government will find this as one big irritation as everybody is a citizen journalist these days.
It is hard to figure out what’s fake and what’s real.
We can ask – what’s the point of inciting controversy by manufacturing absurd stories; then that’s how the game is played now.
Perception is everything in politics; absurd stories attract attention in cyber space.
The government in power has no choice but to be transparent and even hands on these days.
Short of that, many fake stories will circulate that will damage the government.
The “A Day with The Chief Minister” is one aspect of new governance that needs to be promoted by all cabinet ministers as well.
This event and the walkabout is a must for them to see what’s happening on the ground on a more regular basis.
How effective is the government machinery? What are the shortcomings and the remedial measures to be taken? These can be taken care of on the spot.
It is a fact that rural areas need more attention; once “A Day with the Chief Minister” , becomes a standard practice, the officers will be kept on their toes and hopefully the machinery is better oiled as a result.
Creative ways of doing things must be thought up; imagine if there was no mobile court the native children will become stateless and associated complications will come to the fore with these innocent people when they become adults.
More should be done of course for our people in more ways than one.
Power should not get into anyone’s head, its fleeting after all. You are elected by the people; in return you must help them.
Hopefully the Chief Minister will visit other districts in Sabah on a regular basis, at least once a month.
He should instruct his officers among other things to keep their districts clean; if we take a road trip to Brunei and Sarawak, we can see Sabah is the dirtiest of the three states.
A more concerted effort must be taken by the officers in the districts to come close to the higher standards of cleanliness in the two neighbouring states.
“A Day with The Chief Minister” is the right direction to take in order to bring about a better Sabah for all as the CM will then know and can feel the pulse on the ground without missing a beat.
And he knows what needs to be done and there is no excuse for his officers if they don’t act on his instructions.
It is either the chief minister’s way or the highway.