Friday, June 13, 2008


Commission to probe illegals welcomed, says Suhakam


Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) Vice Chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun yesterday welcomed the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to look into issues pertaining to illegal immigrants in Sabah. “Personally, I support the proposal to have a Royal Commission of Inquiry over the longstanding issue. But the matter has yet to be discussed by Suhakam,” he said. Matters pertaining to illegal immigrants were among the most talked about topic during a dialogue on Politics and Civil Rights here yesterday. “This issue has not been discussed entirely by Suhakam. What I have said earlier is my personal view on the setting up of the Commission,” said Simon. “My support towards the setting up of the Commission is not because it could probably solve the longstanding issue affecting Sabah, but like the Lingham video clip, we were able to dig into the issue and identify the caller and who was responsible in the case,” said Simon after the dialogue. The event was also attended by other Suhakam officials, namely Tan Sri Asiah Abu Samah, Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, Datuk Dr Micheal Yeoh, Datuk Siva Subramaniam and Tunku Datuk Nazihan Tunku Mohamed Rus. Simon said that the setting up of an ordinary committee would not be able to resolve problems concerning illegal immigrants, as it would not be effective, especially in calling politicians and influential leaders to facilitate their investigation. He said his view is in line with the people of Sabah’s needs. “However, I cannot speak on behalf of Suhakam but since this issue was raised during the forum today, we might bring it to our (Suhakam) meeting,” he said. Earlier in his speech, Simon described issues pertaining to illegal immigrants as the mother of all problems in the State. The problem started in the 1960s and relatively, it could ‘have been handled by the Government then, but since it was neglected, the issue has grown and is becoming worse today, he said. “This could probably be one of the main reasons for the popular demand to have the Royal Commission of Inquiry look into the issue. I believe that the idea to set up the Commission is to find out the root of this problem,” he said. He said he also believed that setting up more temporary detention centres would not solve the problem. “Instead, it will make things worse as what had happened before this,” he said.