Tuesday, September 28

Aspirasi chairman warns against accepting Rohingya refugees in Sarawak


Buln Ribos

KUCHING: Sarawak must not allow any foreigners free access into the state in large or small groups, says People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) chairman Buln Ribos.

He said in the wake of the heated debates on the arrival of a boat carrying about 200 Rohingya refugees which was intercepted by the Royal Malaysian Army some 70 nautical miles west of Pulau Langkawi, any new move or proposal to create a settlement for any refugee, even if only on a temporary basis, should never be allowed.

“Sarawak’s population which is only three million or less, must be protected from outside influences or any aliens who can come in to multiply their numbers.

“Any attempt to allow that should be treated as treason as it acts against the interest of every Sarawakian and is a threat to our food, health, financial, cultural and homeland security,” he said in a statement on Monday.

He was referring to a statement by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in 2017 assuring the state would not accept Rohingya refugees.

“I hope that the chief minister will hold steadfast to the Sarawak government’s policy in regard to the Rohingyas, which has received unanimous support from the people,” he said.

He pointed out that if Sarawak wants to be kind, it should start with its own people.

“The Covid-19 situation is already wrecking the financial security of our own low-income population.

“Many households in our rural areas are suffering from loss of income and inability to buy food and milk powder.

“How can Sarawak’s generosity and compassion on humanitarian grounds be extended to non-Sarawakians when our own people are still mired in poverty after 50 years of independence ?” he questioned.

He reiterated that the state must continue to close its doors to refugees as the Rohingya refugee issue is a regional problem which must be resolved amongst countries in the region.