solution' over Sabah's illegals
Joe Fernandez | Dec
23, 08 3:46pm
Former Sabah secretary Simon Sipaun sees the redistribution of the
state’s population of illegal immigrants throughout Malaysia as the
“final solution” to an intractable problem.
Claiming that their presence is a gross example of the state being
shortchanged by its membership in the federation of Malaysia, he
said the local population is in danger of being swamped by
“impoverished, miserable, hungry hordes from the southern
Philippines in particular, besides those from Indonesia, Pakistan
“The blame is on the relevant authorities (federal government) for
allowing them in illegally,” said Sipaun, in justifying the “final
“Two books, ‘IC Projek’ (Project IC), and ‘Lelaki Malaysia Terakhir’
(The Last Malaysian Male) have identified national and state leaders
who are alleged to have played important roles associated with the
illegal immigrants issue,” he said.
“To the best of my knowledge, none of those leaders mentioned have
refuted or denied the allegations.”
He was elaborating on the main points of his presentation, ‘The
Formation of Malaysia and Development in Sabah’ at the Institute of
Islamic Understanding Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 18.
Sipaun’s “gut feeling” is that there are more illegals than locals
among Sabah’s estimated 3.5 million population.
He said Malaysia Plan allocations for the state are insufficient
since this has to be shared with the illegals including those who
have managed to get their hands on identity documents.
“The mother of all problems in Sabah is the unusually large
population of illegal immigrants. It is quickly changing the
economic, social, cultural and political landscape of the state,”
said Sipaun, also the vice-chairperson of the Human Rights
“The question that is in the minds of many Sabahans is: ‘Why has the
government allowed this to happen?’ Thousands of people have called
for a royal commission of inquiry to be established to determine who
are responsible for this state of affairs.
“The day will come when the Philippines need not claim Sabah any
more due to a reverse takeover which, in my view, has long started.”
‘Shortchanging of Sabah’
Sipaun said he had warned community leaders in 1962, on the eve of
independence and formation of Malaysia, that Sabah would need an
His concerns included the fact that Sabah, like the other Borneo
states, did not have people sufficiently qualified and experienced
enough to negotiate with Malaya and Singapore.
The best approach would have been self-rule initially, he said,
followed by independence before considering the possibility of
entering the federation.
“It was not to be and our concerns were not taken into
consideration. Malayan leaders wanted the Borneo states in to
balance the large Chinese numbers in Singapore.
“When Singapore left Malaysia in 1965, the Federation of Malaysia
Agreement in fact ceased to exist. This may account for the fact
that the interpretation of the word ‘federation’ in Article 160 now
refers to that established in 1957 under the federation of Malaya.”
The retention of Sabah and Sarawak is therefore another example of
the Borneo states being shortchanged, he claimed.
The third example is that Malaysia has moved away from a federation
towards a unitary state, where the “Federal, State and Concurrent
Lists of a Federation are no longer applicable”
“Instead, the states are only left with local governments - in any
case appointed and financed by the federal government - and land
matters. Even in these, there are such federal agencies as the
National Land Council and National Council for Local Government.”
Sipaun also fears that excellent race relations in Sabah are being
slowly poisoned by elements of racial polarisation that are distinct
in the peninsula, while the state is now ranked among the poorest in