DATUK SERI PANGLIMA JOSEPH PAIRIN KITINGAN
PRESIDENT OF PARTI BERSATU SABAH
IN KOTA KINABALU, 27 OCTOBER 1997
ON THE PROPOSAL FOR CROSS-BORDER PASS
Bersatu Sabah objects to the proposal by the Sabah government to
implement cross-border pass between Sabah and Southern Philippines
announced by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Tham Nyip Shen on 25 October
for the following reasons:
reasons, we urge the State government to act responsibly and drop
the idea of a cross-border pass. I also appeal to the people of Sabah
to register their protest to the proposed move. We truly believe that
the proposal will not benefit Sabah in the long term given the serious
issues of security, economic and social conditions caused by the unresolved
problem of illegal immigration in the State.
move is tantamount to legalising the flow of illegal immigrants
from Southern Phillipines into Sabah which has been happening
for almost three decades. There is already an almost free flow
of illegals into the State. By doing away with passports, the
State government is essentially encouraging illegal migration
into Sabah and therefore worsening the existing situation.
decision to implement the cross-border pass whereby crossing of
people between the two countries will be made as easy as possible
represents a cover up by the Sabah government and shows that it
has failed to solve the illegal immigration problem in the State.
The BN State and Federal governments have consistently failed
to control the free flow of illegal immigrants into the State.
With the use of only cross-border pass for travel between the
two countries, the number of illegal immigrants will soar further.
doing away with passports and allowing the use of cross-border
pass, the State government has essentially given up the fundamental
principle of national sovereignty and controlled immigration.
The immediate objective should be to reduce the free flow of illegals
into the State. The benefits of freer flow of people between the
two regions are questionable given the multitude of problems caused
by illegal immigration into the State. Illegal immigration and
use of foreign labour also represent a major outflow of Malaysian
financial resources through overseas remittances that are largely
is mindless to use the argument of people’s poor affordability
to acquire passports as the justification for relaxing the requirements
for travel documents between the two regions. Surely, people who
travel for economic and trade purposes can afford to pay for a
passport. This is just a lame excuse to abandon the government’s
attempt to solve once and for all the illegal immigrant problem
in the State.
use of cross-border pass, if it were to be implemented by Asean
governments, should only be implemented where there has been controlled
immigration and regulated flow of travelers between the countries
concerned. It must not be implemented in regions where there has
been continuous existence of illegal immigration between the regions
concerned. To do so would only worsen illegal immigration and
benefits no one.