Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Rakyat on the Committee Stage of the 1989/1990 Supplementary Operating and Development Estimates on Tuesday, 19th June 1990
DAP calls for the immediate release of the three Sabahans detained under ISA as their arrest is regarded by the people of Sabah as an anti-Sabah action which will set back Sabah-Federal relations
The re-creation of the posts of Federal Secretaries of Sabah and Sarawak is a clear admission that 27 years after the entry of the two states to form Malaysia, the relations and ties of Sabah and Sarawak to the Federal Government are very strained, unhappy and at times tense.
There is a strong and widespread feeling among the people of Sabah and Sarawak that they are neglected and treated as step children in the Malaysian scheme of things.
The primary duty of the Federal Secretaries of Sabah and Sarawak is to try to put the relationship between Sabah and Sarawak on the one had and the Federal Government on a new basis based on mutual respect and trust.
The Federal Government should be more sensitive to the legitimate aspirations of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.
The recent detention of the three Sabahans, the Secretary of the Kadazan-Dusun Cultural Association, Benedict Topin, ex-police detective Damit Undikai and ex-policeman Albinus Yudah, for instance, has gravely set back Sabah-Federal relations.
I call on the Federal Government to immediately release the three Sabahans especially as their ISA detention is generally regarded as an anti-Sabah action by the people of Sabah, and this cannot help in forging closer ties between Sabah and the Federal Government.
The three Sabahans had been accused of being involved in a plot to take Sabah out of Malaysia. Through the seventies and early eighties, such allegations had often been made against Sabah political leaders and workers, sometimes even against Chief Ministers and State Ministers.
If the Government has any evidence that the three Sabahans have committed offences under the law of the law of the land, then they should be charged in open court with an opportunity to defend themselves. There can be no justification for the use of the ISA against the three Sabahans.
If the Government is going to disregard the sensitivities of the people of Sabah, then it is pointless to re-create the post of Federal Secretary of Sbah, for the root causes of discontent and alienation of the people of Sabah would not be addressed and resolved.
Illegal immigrants making Sabahans ‘refugees’ in their own homeland
Another root cause of the discontent and alienation of the people of Sabah with the Federal Government is the grave problem of illegal Filipino and Indonesian immigrants in Sabah.
It has been estimated that there are 500,000 to 700,000 illegal immigrants in Sabah. The illegal immigrants problem in Sabah has become so acute that one out of every two persons in Sabah is an illegal immigrant. If this problem is not immediately checked and resolved, it will not be long before the Sabahans become ‘refugees’ in their own homeland.
The reason why the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah has gone from bad to worse is because of the lack of sincerity and political will of the Federal Government to deal with it for the past two decades. The people of Sabah have rightly put the blame and responsibility on the Federal Government foe this problem.
Unless the Federal Government is prepared to sincerely and honestly deal with the long-standing legitimate grievances of the people of Sabah which had caused such strain and tension in the Federals Sah relations, the re-creation of the post of Federal Secretary of Sabah is not going to serve any meaningful purpose at all.