By NELSON W ANGANG
“I read with interest the statement issued by STAR President and the federal Deputy Minister of Tourism Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan on their intention of holding a public forum to seek views on how to resolve the illegal immigrants problem in Sabah and at the same time accusing the the warisan led state government of favoring illegal immigrants to come and stay in Sabah.
There seem to be a lot of serious and dangerously false allegation made by Dr Jeffrey towards the current Sabah state government without offering any solid proof of the matter.
And one of the allegation seems to indicate that the previous PH federal government proposal for the introduction of the Sabah Temporary Pass (STP) is akin to the state government favouring the illegal immigrants to stay in Sabah.
Not surprisingly he had ommitted the fact and explaination that the proposal came from the Federal government through the Home Ministry whose Minister then was the now current Prime Minister of which Dr Jeffrey is now serving as part of his cabinet.
He also seem to confuse the fact that the STP is a proposal to find a solution to the refugees problem in Sabah and not about giving documentation to illegal immigrants.
If they can’t even distinguish the difference between what is a refugee and illegal immigrants than what hope do we have for them to find a solution.
It is a known fact that the Federal government proposal of the STP was scrapped in the end after considering public sentiments of the matter.
To reach the ideals of an effective policy, it is normal for the government to proposed the introduction of certain policy and recommendation for a solution.
The ideals of public reason are central to democratic political solution such as the creation of government policy or laws through the process of deliberation between the government and the public.
It is through debates that is “fair and honest” that the democratic legitimacy of a policy emerges.
For example through the previous PH federal government proposal of STP, the federal government gave a proposal and after having gone through public debates and having considered public acceptance of such proposal, it was then decided not to proceed with it.
These are the traits of a fair, honest and a responsible government.
Be brave in proposing for a solution and if it is not accepted then be responsible enough to concede and move on.
It is not a popularity contest.
Being a government is not about protecting your pride but by making tough decisions such as putting forward a proposal that may or may not be popular but which the government believe to be a solution.
Perhaps Dr. Jeffrey and Star should start appreciating the fact that they are now in the driving seat rather than thinking that they can still continue playing it safe and appealing to the popular sentiments of the people as if they are still in the opposition.
Taking this approach is no longer a luxury that they can afford. It’s time for them to walk the talk; the clock is ticking and the people are waiting.
At least make it worthwhile being part of the current federal government after the role you played in creating havoc to the country in the fall of the majority elected PH government.
After so many years being critical and vocal about issues such as MA63 and the immigrant problems in Sabah, they are now in a position to effect change.
But the best they could offer is holding a public forum to get feedback and suggestion from the public rather than proposing concrete solutions.
You would think after all these years they would at least have some suggestions.
I would understand holding a public forum to get feedbacks regarding a proposal that has been made so that we can have a healthy and effective debate about such proposal.
But clearly what they are doing is purely diverting and delaying.
From demonizing and putting seriously false allegations towards the current state government and finally leading to organising a forum without any proposal is clearly playing to the gallery and sentiments of the people.
Don’t pollute the sanctity of the institution of being a government by producing smoke screen to divert what should be obvious and that is for them to now lead and deliver what they have preached all these while.
Perhaps because they don’t want to lose the position being the populist choice that they believe they have gained thus far being in the opposition before.
Perhaps they know that whatever proposal they may have it may not be sustainable or that it may not be to the liking of the people.
Therefore the safest way is to hold a public forum, and hide behind the sentiments of the people. With this kind of approach, there is no leadership.
With all your criticism and attacks on the proposals and recomendations made by the previous federal governments and state government; when it comes to the crunch; nothing.
Silence is indeed deafening.”
NELSON W ANGANG is the Secretary General of United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO)