KUCHING: Sarawak will continue to defend its immigration autonomy as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
In relation to this call, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg disclosed how a deputy minister, who paid him a courtesy call recently, suggested that Sarawak should end its immigration autonomy.
“The person (deputy minister) said it’s time for Sarawak to not have the immigration control.
“I said no,” he told reporters in a press conference set up after the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) supreme council meeting, chaired by him, at its headquarters here yesterday.
According to Abang Johari, the immigration autonomy is among Sarawak’s rights that need to be defended as it provides protection to the people of Sarawak, including the professionals.
The subject should also be among those discussed by the 16-member MA63 Steering Committee, he added.
However PBB, said Abang Johari, viewed the MA63 committee as ‘being lopsided’, stressing that the composition of the committee must be based upon that of the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) – with equal representation from Sarawak and Sabah.
“We will have to find a way so that the people can be properly informed about the discussions being held, via a structured channel,” he added.
Abang Johari said by having immigration autonomy, Sarawak would be able to defend itself from any outside influences deemed to be ‘extreme’ and could disrupt the state’s peace and harmony.
He added that the motive behind the deputy minister’s asking for the end of Sarawak’s immigration autonomy could be attributed to one of the leaders from his (deputy minister’s) side being banned from entering Sibu.
On the PBB supreme council meeting, Abang Johari said it also touched on National Budget 2019, which he found to be ‘too general’ despite Sarawak being allocated with a total of RM4.346 billion.