Other than the Perkara 20 or 18 in Sarawak, one popular political myth in Sabah that have been allowed to linger on too long and left not countered or explained effectively had been the illegal immigrant issue.
The claim was that illegal immigrants were given IC to vote for Barisan Nasional and helped to topple the then opposition government led by Datuk Pairin Kitingan's PBS.
To settle this illegal immigrant issue claim once and for all, the Royal Commission on Inquiry (RCI) for the illegal immigrants issue started yesterday.
However, few Sabah newspapers and the usually twisted opposition portals like The Malaysian Insiders, Malaysiakini etc spinned their report for the first day of RCI yesterday.
It is intentional and insidious.
One of the witness was reported to have said that some 73,000 immigrants were given blue IC. These media chose to subtly "highlight" the major charactertistic of these naturalised Malaysians are Muslims.
This has a clear motive to incite the Kadazan Dazan Murut (KDM) community that have long been poisoned to believe that it was intended to dilute the number of the largest racial segment in Sabah. KDM practise a mixed array of religion but the majority are predominantly Muslims.
The Sabah paper is below:
The usual devil's covert portal can be read HERE, HERE, and the idiot one HERE
In a predominantly rural population of Sabah, these kind of simplistic and sweeping accusation have a tendency to spread and believed upon easily.
The truth to the matter is simple.
For the short denial, such simplistic generatlisation is not true. It is not only Muslims that received blue IC but also other races including Chinese.
The long answer for any of the thinking readers is to understand the regional political condition of the times. The southermn part of Phillines, particularly in the island of Mindanao and the nearby islands had been in a state of war for along time.
During the Marcos regime, they were trying to dilute the Muslim population of Mindanao by transfering Christian Phillipines from elsewhere. This has lead to a struggle for independence by political groups and later evolved into freedom fighters.
There was a short reprise for only a few years whereby Nur Misuari became Governor before he was captured in Malaysia and handed over to the Phillipines.
It was only resolved recently and only then did Mindanao practically gained autonomy. To give compliment where it is due, it happened during Najib. That is the solution to the Mindanao and illegal immigrant problem. [Read The Star here.]
Basically, the area had been in a constant flux.
These so-called illegal immigrants are indigenous or "pribumi" of Sabah and near areas. Historically, they have been moving in and out between the Phillipines and Sabah.
A close anthropological study will show that there are many common people found in Sabah and Phillipines like the Bajau, Bisaya, etc. Lajim's Bisaya can be found to as far as Sarawak. They were part of highly mobile maritime region of Nusantara or Malay archipelago.
That is why Javanese or Bugis or Bajar is as much a Pribumi in Malaya or Sumatra or Borneo. The ease in which people of different areas move to other areas is the willingness to assimilate with the local culture and practise while maintaining their culture.
As the Malay proverb, "Masuk kandang kambing mengembak, masuk kandang lembu menguak." The Nusantara has a tradition of berkelana.
Naturally, when war broke out and lasted for decades and perhaps more than half a century, some of the population will move away for safety to others areas within their natural abode, like moving to Sabah.
These people have been there for ages and have a natural rights under a Jus Sanguine principle to be citizens. This point is raised to tell those Chinese DAPs or SAPPs to shut up and not interfere.
It is slightly different from the citizenship given to Chinese in Malaya prior to Merdeka under a Jus Soli arrangement. Chinese or Indian are not indigenoeous people or original popullants of Malaya but are given citizenship by our rulers and leaders.
Despite widespread resistance and pockets of such sentiment can still be found among the older Malays, our forefathers did it against popular opinions because we wanted to build a nation.
In the spirit of nation building, these stateless status immigrants were given citizenship. What is 73,000 over a long period of time in comparison to 2-4 million Sabah population?
These so-called illegal immigrants have more natural rights than immigrants from a faraway land with alien culture, religion and lifestyle.
Itu pun sekarang ramai sudah besar kepala dan mahu ketepikan warisan dan tuntutan adat, ugama dan pentadbiran orang asal.
This not an attempt to tell Chinese or Indians that they should not have been citizens but telling history plainly to understand that this country averted a Rohingya-like problem. .
Back to the Muslim status of immigrants in the RCI, one will naturally find that the main characteristic of immigrants are Muslims because they are being prosecuted and diluted by Marcos. There is no reason for the Christians to run and live a life as political refugees.
After being here for so long and for many generations, these people do not have any more roots in Mindanao. No more property or immediate family. For that matter, they have adopted Malaysia as their country.
During the political turmoil days of the trio of CMs - Tun Mustapha-Harris Salleh-Pairin Kitingan, they would have cheered for the Malaysian trio strikers of Mokhar Dahari, Shukor Salleh and Sabahan James Wong in any football match against any other country, including Phillipines. [Read The Star report here.]
This is but an insidious attempt by newspapers to incite the KDM community to despise the Barisan Nasional government and sway the votes for Pakatan Rakyat or STAR or SNAP.
KDM had long been duped into believing that the Federal Government had interfered into Sabah affair to bring down the Kadazan-led government of PBS. Where did such allegations arised when BN and UMNO have always left Sabah politics to Sabahans?
Sabahan are one of the nicest people on earth but frankly, no one can understand the Sabahan political psyche. Their practise would have been seen as unethical by the shrewdest of any politics elsewhere.
On the subject of the bringing down PBS, one should ask Anwar Ibrahim who orchestrated the buy-out of Lajim, Bumburiang, and whole list of katak to jump out of PBS and saw the PBS-USNO coalition fall apart after just winning the state election.
Don't forget to ask also Anwar and Dr Jeffrey Kitingan of their plan of treason for a Sabah cessation from Malaysia. That will explain why the 20% oil royalty promise for Sabah and Sarawak by Anwar.
If the question is why 73,000, take account that these people are indigenous of this area and is as much a Pribumi as Jeffrey Kitingan or Lajim or Musa Aman.
Professor Ramlah Adam testified at the RCI and expressed out similar view. Ironically, it is Sabah Times that reported it, below:
Filipino immigrants here because of ancestral links – Historian
by Nancy Lai.
Posted on January 15, 2013, Tuesday
“We must avoid politicising the issue especially during election time because this is not sincere in resolving the issue,” she said, when giving evidence to the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah here yesterday.
Ramlah was one of the three witnesses called to give evidence on the first day of the Commission’s hearing yesterday before it was abruptly halted because of a bomb hoax about 2.40 pm.
Ramlah and Professor Ranjit Singh were asked on the history and demography of Sabah while the third witness was former head of the Settlement Unit under the Chief Minister’s Department, Abd Jaafar Alip.
“We must look at this as a national issue, not a political one. We must be professional in resolving it,” she said.
She said that in her opinion the people from the Southern Philippines came to Sabah because of the ancestral links between the state and the Republic.
To conducting officer Manoj Kurup’s question as to what are these links, Ramlah said these are unwritten ties including religion, family and the maritime boundaries which were passed down from generations to generations in the Southern Philippines.
And because this area was governed by the Sulu Sultanate in the past, some of those in the Southern Philippines feel that Sabah is still a part of the Sulu Sultanate which is why they come to Sabah, she said.
Even though the Sulu Sultanate is not in existence any more, some people in the Southern Philippines still continue to practise the sultanate system which they inherited from their ancestors, she said, adding that her studies showed that it was difficult to place a political boundary in those days as a Sultan’s authority was based on a few factors, including the loyalty of the people.
“From what I read, this is still happening now. From a historical aspect, they may not feel that they are entering Sabah illegally but because there are immigration laws in this country, they become illegal immigrants.
To the question as to what steps can be taken to resolve the problem, Ramlah suggested that because of their historical links to Sabah, these people should be given some political recognition and some programs initiated to get closer to them and to assist them.
“The influx of illegal immigrants into the country and Sabah is worrying because having laws against illegal entry are not deterring them. We repatriate them and they return, besides, repatriating them costs a lot of money,” she stressed.
“So we must look at this as a national problem and not a political one. We must sit down and discuss professionally to find a solution to this problem. There must be affirmative action to resolve the issue in a professional manner,” she stressed.
Ramlah was also of the opinion that some of the islanders in Southern Philippines may not recognize the Philippines government and this could be one of the reasons why they still come to Sabah.
The other reason was that they are fleeing from the political unrest in their homeland so that they can find a better life elsewhere, she said.
“Even as fishermen here, it is a better life for them away from the unrest in their home country,” she said.
If that is beyond their ability to understand, one can always asked back how about the 1,000,000 in Malaya?
One can always asked back what basis is to give citizenship to 30,000 Chinese that did not qualify for Jus Soli citizenship but could not be repatriated because Chairman Mao Tse Tong refused to acknowledge and accept them when it was raised by Tun Abdul Razak in his trip to Beijing in early 70s?