MEMBAKUT: Protesters convened at the old Membakut town here to send a strong objection to the implementation of the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS).
Clad in black shirts, with 'Kami Bantah PSS' written on it, the group flocked the venue since 8am and were also seen signing a petition against issuance of the temporary pass to 136,055 registered holders of IMM13, Kad Burung-Burung, and census certificates.
Present were Former Kimanis MP Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) secretary general Datuk Jahid Jahim, and PBS information chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.
Also in attendance were Sabah Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Star deputy president Datuk Ellron Angin, and Sabah MCA Women chief Dr Pamela Yong, among others.
During the two-hour event, opposition leaders took turns in making clear their stance on PSS, stressing its implication on Sabah's security, economic, social, and health in the long run.
Anifah, in his speech, reiterated his concern over the possibility of the temporary pass eventually becoming permanent, thus allowing generations that follow to get citizenships.
"This is not about racism, but we (Sabah people) have dignity. We have to remember that (the Philippines) is still pursuing a claim on Sabah. They asked why Anifah did not negotiate with the Philippines to drop the claim.
"If we negotiate, it means we are opening a door for them. I said no deal, no way, this is our country, our state. There's no way I am going to sit down with (the Philippines) to give away our state," he said.
The PSS is Barisan Nasional's main attacking point against Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) in the Kimanis parliamentary by-election, which is to take place this Saturday.
Pamela, who is also an activist, opined that the Warisan-led government had no intention to send illegal immigrants back as the PSS was continuously renewable every three years.
"A by-election is an opportunity for us to express our feelings through voting. To me, the most important question we must ask ourselves is what will happen if Warisan candidate wins and what will change if Warisan loses?
"Warisan is the governing party. If they win, their pride will rise because the people support them and their policies, including PSS. If they lose, they will be more attentive to the voice of Sabah people," she said.
Outside the event camp, a group of Dayak men showed their objection towards PSS by chanting their 'Bantah PSS' slogan.
Speaking to NST, Dayak International Organisation secretariat chief Jalumin Bayogoh questioned the double-standard of Immigration laws between Sabah and peninsular Malaysia.
“When I asked others from 30 non-governmental organisations across the country during a convention with Unity and Social Well-Being Ministry last week, none of them want to have illegal immigrants in their respective states.
“How can we have Immigration laws that allow illegal immigrants to stay in Sabah, when in peninsular these illegals will be deported to their country of origins," he said, adding Sabah people will be doomed once PSS takes effect in June.
He noted Dayaks were one of the native communities in Sabah, stressing he was concerned that the demographics would change when illegal immigrants obtain their PSS.
“We do not care if PSS is not a citizenship but they should not have equal privileges as a citizen, such as access to employment, banking services, healthcare and education.
“Dayak people are the natives and once (PSS is) implemented, will our future still have the same identity as the original Sabahans,” he said.