Will the RCI on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah be another example of yet another broken promise by the BN to the people of Sabah?

DAP Sabah kicked off a series of Janji Ditepati public hearings starting in Kota Kinabalu on Monday to seek feedback from the people of Sabah and see if the promises made by the BN during its 49 year rule have indeed been fulfilled or if the government’s Merdeka slogan is yet another in a long series of broken promises by the BN to the people of Sabah.

The last time a series of such public hearings were held was in 1962 when the Commission of Enquiry for North Borneo and Sarawak (better known as the Cobbold Commission) sought public feedback in Sabah and Sarawak for a period of 2 ½ months. Indeed, the Cobbold Commission, which was appointed in January 1962, took five months to complete and was submitted to the British on the 21st of June 1962. The final report was released on the 1st of August, 1962. The Commission was chaired by the former Governor of the Bank of England, Lord Cameron Cobbold, with a four member Commission namely Wong Pow Nee, Chief Minister of Penang, Mohammed Ghazali Shafie, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaya, Anthony Abell, former Governor of Sarawak and David Watherston, former Chief Secretary of Malaya.

In contrast, it took Najib 6 months to announce the members of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah and to come up with the Terms of Reference. And even the Terms of Reference may have been delayed further if not for the departure of two prominent BN Members of Parliament from Sabah. Three weeks later, concerned Sabahans are still waiting for any signs of life that the RCI has started work.

For a Prime Minister who is overseeing a Government Transformation Program that is supposed to make the government more efficient and responsive, it is ironic that the Najib premiership appears to be more inefficient and incompetent compared to the governance of 50 years ago in 1962 as demonstrated by the Cobbold Commission who were operating in a time without the convenience of modern technology.

Will the RCI on Illegal Immigrants be another meaningless Public Relations exercise by the BN similar to the RCI on Police Reform, the RCI on the VK Lingam video clip and the RCI into the Teoh Beng Hock case?

Will Najib call for the next general election without even allowing for the RCI on Illegal Immigrants to start, let along to be completed, so as to avoid the public spotlight on the many problems that such an RCI would unveil, including strong and indisputable evidence that a significant number of illegal immigrants have been included in the electoral roll?

I challenge Najib to assure the people of Sabah that he will not call for the next general election until the RCI on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah has completed its work and that he will take the necessary steps based on the findings to ensure the illegal immigrants who have been wrongly issued ICs and included in the electoral roll will be removed from the electoral roll to ensure a clean and fair elections.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur