MEMBAKUT: For some Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) constituents in Kimanis, concerns over the implementation of the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) take a back seat to other more pressing issues.
Ondu Ambidau, 66, said she has little knowledge about the PSS, but is not worried about it, as the main problems facing her village are poor road conditions and perennial flooding.
"I am not really sure about the PSS, as I live in a rural area. So, I have no access to such information.
"But my concern is whenever it rains, I will often get stranded in my own home," said the Kampung Bowan villager.
The senior citizen lives alone and survives on a RM350 monthly allowance from the government.
She said the road becomes impassable by car for many days after a downpour.
"It is usually so bad that you can literally plant paddy on (the muddy road). Other than that, the area is always flooded and it is a lot of work to clean up the mess," added Ondu.
The village head of Kampung Sindok Rusi Gurumong, Rusi, agreed that there is an urgent need to improve infrastructure to connect more areas in the district to the main road.
“I live across the river. It would be more convenient if the government builds bridges that would improve connectivity and allow for efficient transportation of agricultural products,” she said.
As for the PSS, she said that the introduction of the temporary pass for foreign immigrants in Sabah is probably something good initiated by the government.
"Furthermore, there are ministers (supporting) it, so it should not be something to be scared of," said the newly-appointed village chief.
Rusi also expressed concern about villagers who might lose their generations-old houses on lands being developed as estate areas.
“They have been living there for three generations. All of a sudden, they are told to leave the place. Where can they go?” she asked.
For Ruzita Maidon, 32, every day is a struggle to ensure that her two children get the necessary education in Membakut.
“The annual school fee keeps increasing. It is not easy to find RM300 for the school fee per child and money for other schooling expenses.
“There are not many job opportunities in Membakut. People are making a living via odd jobs, but those, too, are limited,” she said.
The controversial PSS is one of the attacking points used by Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno against Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) in the ongoing campaign for the Jan 18 Kimanis parliamentary seat by-election.
Proposed by the Home Ministry, the PSS is set to replace the IMM13, Burung-Burung and Census cards to better regulate and monitor the presence of foreigners in the state.
The PSS is scheduled to be implemented on June 1.