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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Oct 16: Pending lawmaker Violet Yong has condemned the chief minister’s proposal to ease immigration restrictions or conditions for Sabahans to enter Sarawak in the future.
Describing Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s proposal as “dangerous”, she pointed out that the consequences to relaxing the state immigration requirements or laws will lead Sarawak to disaster politically, as well as security.
“It is equivalent or akin to giving up Sarawak immigration autonomy as enshrined under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63),” she told a press conference at the DAP headquarters here today.
At present, Sabahans and West Malaysians entering Sarawak are subject to the state immigration laws.
Yong said it was very peculiar as to why this proposal only came from Abang Johari alone and not together with Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
“The grounds for the proposal given by Abang Johari was to strengthen the ties of the two states but if it is for the benefit of the two states, then why the proposal came from him (Abang Johari) alone and not Sabah chief minister as well,” she questioned.
The negative impact can be very serious in terms of job opportunities, peaceful living environment and security, she continued.
“Once Sarawak let go (of) its immigration rights and allowing people to enter freely, there may be one day, whereby people from other parts of the world including Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia could overtake the local population,” she said.
She urged Abang Johari to withdraw and cease this proposal immediately, which would not bring any benefit to Sarawak.
“Once Sarawak give up its immigration autonomous right, you will not get it back anymore,” she warned, while criticising the former Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) and now Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), for its failures in protecting the state rights for the past 55 years.
“GPS, from BN time until now, is still making the mistakes to ‘sell’ our (Sarawak) rights instead of defending it, such as oil and gas, education and now immigration,” she opined.
“We must stop it (unnecessary mistakes and bad policies) from happening. I and DAP will defend Sarawak rights on this particular issue,” she said.
She also called on all Sarawakians to stand up together in condemning the proposal mooted by the chief minister.
In regards to Sabah and Sarawak looking at the possibility of setting up an airline to serve the two states, Yong welcomed the collaboration for the benefit of the tourism industry.
However, she called on the need to carry out a feasibility study.
“I support the idea (that would help) to strengthen the tourism industry and give people in both states another alternative airline to fly with but the question is, will it be viable? Will both states be able to sustain the airline? And will they have enough funding to run the airline properly?,” she said.
She reminded that airline is a very hard and challenging industry. — DayakDaily