By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Nov 3: There has been talks between Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and a federal deputy minister for Sarawak to relinquish its immigration autonomy.
Abang Johari, who revealed this without disclosing any names, said he rejected outright the idea.
“We must defend our rights and we don’t want our rights to erode (some more),” he told a press conference after chairing at Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) supreme council meeting at its headquarters here today.
“I told him, this is something we (Sarawak) must defend because our immigration autonomy has been guaranteed in our (state) constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63),” he added.
He said the deputy minister, from the peninsula, paid a courtesy call to him recently and brought up an issue where one of their Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders were barred from entering the state, who recently attempted to enter the state through Sibu Airport.
Abang Johari revealed that the deputy minister told him that it is time for Sarawak to open up its immigration law.
Several other PH leaders and ministers were also barred from entering the state, and are only allowed to enter on case basis.
Abang Johari explained that this state immigration law is needed to defend and to protect Sarawakians including professionals in the state.
“We do not want extremists or bigots to come here and ruin the peace and harmony of Sarawak,” he said.
Abang Johari also repeated that the steering committee for the special cabinet committee for MA63 which was set up recently was lopsided, and PBB will come up with a more structured channel to inform Sarawakians on the approach taken by the state government on the MA63 discussion with Putrajaya. — DayakDaily