Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has reminded the authorities that comprehensive actions against illegal immigrants do not depend on a Royal Commission or Parliamentary Select Committees of any sort. “Do not allow the debate over a Royal Commission or a Select Committee to defer urgent actions against illegal immigrants because the sovereignty of the nation and security of the people is a most basic duty of the Government. “The Government must not fail to defend the country’s borders and protect the local citizens against huge numbers of illegal immigrants,” SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee said in a statement yesterday. In debating the merits or otherwise of a Parliamentary Select Committee on illegal immigrants, Yong said we should recall our experiences and not waste time starting all over again. “On May 15, 2001, a Select Committee was formed by the Sabah State Legislative Assembly to address the issue of illegals in Sabah. The members included Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh (now MP for Kalabakan), Datuk Wilfred M. Bumburing (now MP for Tuaran), Datuk Dr Maximus J. Ongkili (now MP for Kota Marudu and Minister in the Federal Cabinet), Datuk Radin Malleh (now Assistant Minister in Chief Minister’s Department), together with then Assemblymen Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (Bingkor) and Datuk Mohd Lan Allani (Sulabayan) and myself (Likas). (My membership in the committee had become uncertain as a result of the election petition and Likas and Gaya by-elections at the time. “The Committee met twice, on June 12 and July 2, 2001. The final report containing facts and figures was dated October 13, 2001. That report (now available at www.sapp.org. my) is sufficient as an official document for further action, which sadly there was little. Therefore, I doubt whether another Select Committee, even at the Parliamentary level, will make any difference,” said Yong. According to him, the reality is that the formation of a Royal Commission, a favourite subject of the PBS before re-joining BN in 2003, is up to the Federal Cabinet, not Parliament. As shockingly revealed by a PBS Supreme Councillor, it was the PBS Federal Cabinet Minister who lobbied against the motion on the Royal Commission. Hence, the only logical and remaining step is for the Ministers from Sabah to ask the Federal Cabinet to approve the formation of a Royal Commission similar to the commissions over the V.K. Lingham tape, the Police, the ACA and on Judicial appointments. “SAPP reiterates its 14-point plan submitted to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Sabah Chief Minister in October 2006. We have presented this many times at several meetings but to no avail. The actions proposed in the 14-point plan do not require a Royal Commission, Select Committees or further debates. “What the Government must show is a firm political will and more resources, manpower and logistics by bringing in the military, enhancing RELA, special operations to detain the ring leaders (or snake heads), transfer of the Malaysian Consulate from Davao to Zamboanga and the setting up of a Philippine Consulate in Sabah. “Malaysia should use more of its leverage at international bodies like ASEAN and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to get the Philippines Government to co-operate. Malaysia can also suspend the Zamboanga-Sandakan ferry service, impose bonds on incoming visitors, requiring ferry passengers to possess return tickets and step up enforcement at all levels of Government,” said Yong. “There are also fresh developments in the Southern Philippines to worry about. The withdrawal of Malaysian peace monitors from Mindanao last month is a clear indication of failure of the peace process involving the Moro Islamic liberation Front (MILF) he added.