Resolve PTI problem in Sabah first call

KOTA KINABALU: Gabungan Sabah said while they were sympathetic to the predicament facing the Rohingya refugees, the federal government should focus on tackling and resolving the illegal immigrant (PTI) problem in Sabah, before extending assistance to the Rohingya immigrants from Myanmar.

It was only reasonable to resolve the omnipresent domestic problems first before embarking on cross border humanitarian projects, said its secretary Edward Dagul in a press statement yesterday in response to the announcement by the Deputy Home minister, Datuk Nurjazlan Mohamad on Malaysia’s willingness to accept more Rohingya refugees.

“After decades, this ‘mother of all threats’ in Sabah is yet to be resolved despite conducting a  Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) hearing in 2013.

“We are now approaching the end of 2017 and there is still no report made public on what the government intends to do to eradicate the PTI problem in Sabah.

“Sabahans deserve to know how the government intends to resolve the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah,” stressed Edward.

The RCI on illegal immigrants in Sabah hearings, which started in early 2013, were completed in September 2013.

More than 200 witnesses testified and the report was released in December 2014.

“How much longer do the people of Sabah need to wait before any reports or actions on the PTI from the government see the light of day? It is only fair that this PTI problem in Sabah be ironed out first before opening new chapters of potentially hazardous repercussions, referring to the Rohingya dilemma.

“According to UNHCR, as at the end of August 2017, there are 149,100 refugees/asylum seekers registered with UNHCR in Malaysia, of that some 132,100 are from Myanmar. In addition to that, some 38,200 are children under the age of 18.

“Based on the figures alone, alarm bells should be ringing on issues such as the feeding, housing and other related costs involved. Where will they be relocated to? What of the socio-economic factors?

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