KOTA KINABALU: Tuaran member of parliament Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred M. Bumburing is disappointed that the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) does not have any positive measure to address the illegal immigrants issue in Sabah.“I am disappointed because the 10MP has nothing concrete to show that the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah will be addressed positively. This issue had been raised in Parliament for the umpteenth times by members of parliament from Sabah,” he said.
Bumburing added the issue had a direct bearing on the poverty eradication program in Sabah which has the second highest poverty rate in the country. “I would like to ask the Home Minister if the issue of illegal immigrants are included in the Ministry’s KPI? In my previous speech, I had asked the Home Ministry to explain the statement by the Sabah National Registration Department which said no Malaysian identity card (IC) or MyKad had been issued to illegal immigrants,” Bumburing who is also the United Pasokmomogun KadazanDusun Murut Organization (UPKO) deputy president, said.
According to him, the minister had also said that no MyKad or Malaysian IC had been issued to illegal immigrants and had asked him to furnish the minister with detailed proof. “I am in the process of collecting those details and I want a guarantee from the minister that once I submit the proof, concrete action will be taken immediately,” he stressed. Bumburing when debating the 10MP in Parliament last Friday, also urged the Home Minister to refer to the Integrity Committee which was formed in 2006 and headed by Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.
This committee had conducted meetings in Kota Kinabalu and had collected testimonies from various individuals. However, when the committee tried to hold a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, both the National Registration and Immigration Departments refused to attend the meeting causing Dompok to resign, he said. “I believe the committee has all the relevant information that the Home Minister needs in order for him to take concrete action on the issue of illegal immigrants,” he said.
On the issue of poverty eradication, Bumburing said the New Economic Policy (NEP) was reported to have successfully reduced the poverty level from 50 per cent in 1970 to 2.3 per cent today. In Sabah, the Household Report in 2004 reported that the poverty rate had plunged from 114,200 households to 21,000 in 2009. It is targeted that by 2015, the poverty rate will be reduced to two per cent making Malaysia the most successful nation in the world on poverty eradication.
“However, I beg to differ because in my area, Tuaran district, the incidence of poor families is still substantial. In the e-Kasih report dated April 28, the number of hardcore poor in Tuaran is 626 and poor family is 1,020. “I wish to inform this August house that I have carried out a survey using a sampling methodology in my area in 2009. This survey was done comprehensively by visiting every household involved, covering 45 villages. “We have discovered that 42 per cent of households are in the hardcore poor category while 20 per cent are relatively poor. The 62 per cent poverty rate in Tuaran is even higher than the national poverty level in Malaysia before NEP,” he said.
Bumburing also pointed out that the co-relation between inflation and poverty, in the case of Tuaran, showed consumer goods and public transportation cost in the villages had increased by 39 per cent as a result of the price of fuel. As a result, the poor became poorer and those who were under the relative category had become hardcore poor, he said. As a result of “sticky prices”, he said the price of essential goods did not decrease even though the price of fuel had gone down. According to him, 63 per cent of those surveyed said that the cost of living had drastically increased in 2008.“I strongly believe that this reality in Tuaran may also be true for the other rural areas in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
On the issue of infrastructure, Bumburing said the 10MP in general gives special emphasis to development for the people that have been sidelined and at the same time to focus on making Malaysia an economic giant. For Sabah, the emphasis on providing piped water to 98 per cent of the population is something that is really needed and the same goes in providing electricity supply to every household and road network stretching 2,540 kilometers.
Special assistance will be provided to ethnic minorities in Sabah, specifically the Bisayah, Orang Sungei, Rungus, Tidong and Suluk. “But why is the Kadazandusun ethnic group not listed? The government must practise an open, transparent and fair policy in all aspects such as in the civil service, business opportunities and others. “In order for the 1Malaysia concept to truly succeed, I urge the Prime Minister to introduce a monitoring mechanism at all levels to avoid any form of discrimination.
“This Is important because as long as there exists ethnic groups who felt they were marginalized or sidelined or discriminated against, the objective of 1Malaysia would not be achieved,” he said.
Bumburing also urged the government to expedite the construction of a hospital in Tuaran as the facility could ease the bed shortage in the state capital. Another matter of urgency Is a bridge spanning the Tuaran River so that residents there do not have to drive more than 30 minutes just to reach the township which is just across the river, he said.
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