Crackdown My Foot!
Not long after the March 8th general elections, in which Sabah and Sarawak re-elected the UMNO/BN government back into power, the UMNO government promised a “massive crackdown” on the growing presence of illegal Filipinos in the state of Sabah.
Photos and statements of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak graced the headlines of local dailies, promising and re-promising each day that the Kadazandusuns will once again be able to call Sabah a land of their own instead of giving it up to ID-possessing Filipinos.
It’s been six months since the promised and much hyped mega-operation.
As I drove past Kampung Likas for work recently, I realized that the Filipino settlements that were built over the mangrove swamp were no longer there. They have all been demolished to the ground. Even the wooden stilts that the houses use to stand upon were cleaned up and disposed of.
For a moment, I thought the UMNO/BN government had learnt its lesson and heeded the desires of increasingly frustrated local Sabahans.
I met a family in clinic yesterday. The patient was a 33-year-old Filipino man with a wife and two young children. He was seeking consultation for a high-grade fever. Attempting to elicit any risk factors for malaria and dengue, I briefly enquired about his housing and occupational conditions.
His wife was more than enthusiastic to offer an answer. I soon understood why.
The family used to stay in Kampung Likas, in a self-erected wooden stilt house perched over the mangrove swamp. They received electrical and water supply via illegal connections to the adjacent local homes. The salt-water swamp served as a common latrine as well as garbage dump. The rising and receding tides ensured that all trash and human excrement were washed out into the open sea nearby.
About a month ago, the UMNO state government issued them a notice to move out of the family home in Kampung Likas.
It was not a crackdown, however.
Instead, they were to be relocated into a three-room apartment in Taman Telipok Ria, about 30 minutes drive from the city of Kota Kinabalu. Their new home was equipped with the basic utilities as well as a small playground in the premises of the apartments. Movement of all their belongings was taken care of by the state government. They were to pay RM 130 of rental per month for their new home. Both their children possess valid Malaysian birth certificates. By age 12, they are eligible to apply for a Malaysian IC and being Muslim, they are entitled to all bumiputera privileges under the New Economic Policy.
Anyway, they were not the only family. To her understanding, all her fellow Filipino neighbours in Kampung Likas were similarly relocated and offered apartment homes in Taman Telipok Ria.
That is why the squatter houses of Kampung Likas are no longer there and that is why she was more than enthusiastic to talk about her new family home.
Out of curiosity, I checked out Taman Telipok Ria. I can testify with a clear conscience that the patient and his wife were telling the truth. The number of Filipino residents in the apartments at Telipok Ria is significant and alarming. In fact, they might even outnumber the figures of local Sabahans.
The sign of the housing project stated that a total number of 2,400 units were to be built. The project comes under the direct purview of the Local Housing Ministry and the Tuaran District Council.
All over Sabah, local Kadazandusun are being evicted from their native lands and homes in the name of development and logging. Clean and uncorrupted land officials who stand in the way of UMNO’s greed are wrongfully charged for corruption by the ACA. At the same time, Filipinos who enter and reside in Sabah illegally are relocated to decent homes masqueraded as a ‘massive crackdown’.
Does my reporting appear preposterous and unbelievable?
It doesn’t especially when one remembers that a racist prick like Ahmad “Chinese-are-Squatters” Ismail is still roaming free while upright lawmakers like Teresa Kok is held behind ISA bars.
Spread the word. Spread this whistle-blowing article.
Let all Malaysians old and young know how the UMNO government is betraying the nation and empowering itself with Project IC citizens.
Project IC: Satu Lagi Projek Kerajaan Barisan Nasional.