PENAMPANG: Upko President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok on Sunday said the party must be bold when sharing on what the party struggled and fought for. He said this was especially so on issues that needed to be settled.
"Because we cannot resolve these issues if we were in the opposition," he said when receiving 128 application forms from former DAP members led by Stephen Jimbangan here at Bundusan.
He said what Upko struggled for all this while is all sincere and is glad that this has been scrutinised by the opposition.
And this is an opportune time for the party, he said, to accentuate its struggle.
Contrary to some perceptions, politics can do good for the benefit everyone, he said.
As what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that the Government is in its second phase of transformation programme, the people must return the mandate to the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the coming general election, Dompok said.
For the past four years, he said, he has been vocal about issues that really affects the people.
The main one, he said, is the persistent illegal immigrant issue and issuance of Malaysian identification documents without going through the proper procedure.
The issue of illegal immigrants and issuance of Malaysian identification documents to them was intensified in the 1980s, he said.
"It is on this issue and other issues that I started my career in politics," he said.
While there were illegal immigrants in Sabah that have been repatriated to their country of origin, that the matter still has not been resolved completely.
Previously, he said, he was appointed Chairman of the Select Committee and Integrity but that the committee did not achieve what it was intended for.
Following that, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) was proposed and subsequently approved last year by Najib.
"Because of that, I gave my support to the him (Najib) so as to resolve this problem," he said. There was a period where some Upko party members were disheartened with the situation and wanted Upko to leave the BN coalition.
"But finally, the PM agreed with the establishment of the RCI," he said.
Another issue that Dompok raised was the re-issuance of the identity card so as to ascertain genuine Malaysians.
He proposed that the ICs that were issued in Sabah are returned to the National Registration Department (NRD) and be issued with new ones.
According to him, a research was carried out on 1,000 respondents and the result showed that there is only one way to settle the genuine citizen issue, which is to replace the present ICs with new ones.
He said from the process to issue new ICs, they would be able to protest those who applied the MyKad using statutory declarations.
"There would be among friends who will be unhappy with our stand, but that is our responsibility to the people," he said.
Regarding the BN manifesto that was announced by Najib, he said, transformation is a priority for the BN and thus the continuation of the transformation programmes must be carried on.
While it requires some fine-tuning, Dompok said, it is what the BN intends to carry out.
He said that it is also pertinent that issues on native customary in the country are settled.
On whether he would defend the Penampang parliamentary seat, he said, Upko will wait for the annoucement of candidacy by the BN Chairman.
"(But) the BN is committed to announce the names of the candidates well in advance of the nomination day.
"You will hear it in good time and there's no need to do any announcement today.
Yes (my name and the list has already been submitted to the BN chairman), but the announcement will be made at a later day," he said.
Meanwhile, Stephen Jimbangan said that he decided to relinquish his position as DAP Kepayan branch chairman and joined Upko because he was inspired with the positive move by the three KDM-based parties namely PBS, Upko and PBRS in pursuing unity through the Gelombang Tataba (sustenance wave).
"I hope my entry into Upko will contribute in a small way to unite the KDM community.
"We have been divided far too long and I believe the Gelombang Tataba is the right first step towards a united and progressive KDM," he said.
He said that he was also deeply moved by Dompok's genuine, firm and consistent struggle in finding solution to the mother of all problems in Sabah, namely the illegal immigrants in possession of the MyKad.
Jimbangan said Dompok's proposal for all ICs issued in Sabah are returned and then reissue it to only genuine Malaysians deserve the support from all Malaysian citizens.