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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Sabah govt cautioned over village reserves plan

Parti Bersatu Sabah’s secretary-general Johnny Mositun says the issue of village reserves was never discussed in the state assembly. (Bernama pic)
KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) has hit out at the Warisan-led government’s plan to gazette several areas alleged to harbour illegal migrants as village reserves.
Its secretary-general Johnny Mositun claimed that many migrants in these areas had acquired Malaysian citizenship through the back door.
Sepangar MP and Deputy Home Affairs Minister Azis Jamman had said on Tuesday that the Kota Kinabalu City Hall had identified 30 squatter settlements in the state capital to be gazetted as village reserves.
According to Mositun, the areas include Gaya Island just off Kota Kinabalu, which is inhabited by foreigners who greatly outnumber locals.
“I am apprehensive about the process, especially the secrecy and the sudden announcement by the deputy federal minister.
“Why was there no prior announcement by City Hall about this plan? I don’t know if it was even discussed by the state cabinet.
“The matter had also never been mentioned in the state assembly. Isn’t it only proper for City Hall to be open and transparent about such a major programme?” he asked.
Mositun said many Sabahans were worried about the arbitrary nature and secrecy behind recent actions involving land and foreigners in Sabah.
“Usually, the people are not told about anything until the matter is at an advanced stage.
“It was the same with the plan to provide a temporary stay pass to 600,000 foreigners, the construction of the Papar Dam and the revival of Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED).”
He questioned the state government’s emphasis on migrant issues when it should be focusing on developing programmes.
Mositun called for transparency in ensuring that non-eligible foreigners could not take advantage of the gazetting exercise.
He said it was already difficult to ensure that foreigners in Sabah had proper documentation, without adding the issue of land ownership through gazetting to the mix. - FMT

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