Sunday 23 June 2013


Dear Sabahans,

I Am Pleased to submit this Study to the Commission, a comprehensive study comprising 26 volumes, covering 13 locations in Sabah.  The 13 locations in this study include: Semporna, Lahad Datu, Tawau, Sandakan, Ranau, Kota Marudu, Kudat, Pulau Banggi, Pulau Gaya, Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran, Papar and Beaufort.

This study which we have named the UPKO Initiative is and will be a huge contribution to Sabah and Malaysia.

I feel that our contribution to the solution of the problem of illegal immigration in the country must not depend on hearsay but must be backed by evidence which can be pursued further by the authorities concerned.


The UPKO Initiative is a comprehensive study that includes 1000 interviews of which 400 are Sabahans and 600 of them migrants including legal migrants, illegal migrants and those who have obtained Malaysian documentation illegally. The break-down of respondents are as follows:

·         400 Original Sabahans

·         150 respondents, KDM and Rungus, Chinese

·         250 respondents, Bajau Sama, Bisaya, Sungai, Brunei

·         600 foreigners and “dubious” Malaysians

logo-UPKOApproximately 400 respondents have obtained IC’s and Malayian documents illegally, via false surat akuan sumpah, IMM13 to IC, purchase of IC’s and Projek IC (all of them have entered Malaysia /Sabah illegally)

The remaining 200 have come in legally, most have lapsed passports, or have come on a temporary visit pass, and have not returned to their home country. Only about 30 have valid passports and work visas.


Firstly, it is the largest qualitative study in Malaysia, which through the use of interviews and transcripts provide a documentation on the views of Sabahans on the issues of illegal immigrants, their impact on our way of life, their encroachment into the local economy, the displacement of Sabahans due to them and also what we need to do to rectify the onslaught of illegals.

From the migrants, we can understand their motivation to be in Sabah, their modus operandi in getting citizenships, their social networks and their experiences in Sabah, everything from exploitation to corruption from various quarters.

Secondly, through reliable data the UPKO Initiative provides, we will come up with a series of suggestions for reform to bring an end to the perennial problem of illegal migrants and its impact on Sabah and her people.

Through this study we have been able to prove:

Every migrant who has obtained Malaysian documentation be it birth certificates or IC’s has done so illegally and contravening the Constitution of Malaysia.

In 13 locations in this study, after collecting data from a large segment of migrants, we have discovered a total disregard of the Constitution of Malaysia be it Malaysians who sell or give away documents or migrants who buy it or obtained it illegally.

There is no doubt that the problem of illegal immigrants and “illegal” Malaysians is real and needs a final and comprehensive solution.

Malaysian documentations are obtained through many illegal means notably being purchased from syndicates or Malaysians selling their personal documents or being provided documents through government agencies unconstitutionally.

Many culprits are to be blamed, civil servants, document traders, village folks and Ketua Kampungs. A solution to the problem must be to put an end to the supply by making it both unprofitable business to embark on and also a genuine fear of the strong arm of the law.

The problem of increasing number of illegal migrants in Sabah is due to the availability of jobs in various sectors.


Here lies a major problem, while the economy of Sabah needs labour, employers should be held accountable for who they hire. They cannot expect to totally disregard the law for the purpose of profit and self-gain at the expense of national security and the rights of other Malaysians.

It is hoped that higher wages for Sabahans and the acceptance of the minimum wage would bring about a higher quality of life of our people and at the same time reduce dependence on foreign labour. In any case, if the need arises for foreign labour, it must strictly be “legal” labour force regulated by the government.

Family and ethnic affiliation are key factors in the promotion of migration into Sabah and these institutions provide shelter, protection from the law and eventually towards assisting the new illegal migrants in getting Malaysian documentation.

This point should not be taken lightly. The study shows that migrant workers who have obtained Malaysian citizenship illegally have made it their priority to bring all their family members over to Sabah.

There is a real risk of “real or original” Sabahans becoming a minority in our state. This fear is prevalent not only among thet KDMs, but also the Bruneians, the Bajau-Sama, the Sungai and the Bisayah.

We can now establish their entry points into Sabah and also get insight into the actual journey into Sabah and their experiences here.


This study has identified numerous entry points, showed how our own islands are used by illegals as stepping stone into Sabah. We also know the price of indifference towards illegal immigrants by the Lahad Datu incident that if we don’t control our boundaries, we stand to be invaded.

This study further highlights key structural weaknesses of government agencies notably in failing in their duties to curb the problem of increasing illegal immigrants and the illegal transaction of Malaysian documents.

The problem we face today is compounded by the failures of key government departments notably JPN, the police, immigration, customs right down to enforcement agencies in towns and cities. There are reports even of bribery.

Many respondents have spoken of such actions and therefore it is not an isolated incident but state wide.

The study is conclusive that the original Sabahans are deprived of economic opportunities due to the presence of illegals and those who have obtained Malaysian documentation illegally.

As is always the case migrants do provide cheap labour and when they do “graduate” into doing business themselves they can overcome local competition as they have access to low wage workers from their community who are already here or source from their home countries.

The study also shows that the social networks of immigrants can complicate actions which need to be taken to combat acts of terror in the future (the incidences in Lahad Datu and Semporna are merely tips of the iceberg).

This study is conclusive in how kinship and ethnic affiliations among illegals and illegal Malaysians is a challenge to national security.

In every location in the study, ethnic affiliation and kinship have allowed foreigners to enter into Malaysia, provided not only housing and food but also protection from the law. In all cases also, the providers of shelter and food also play a critical role in getting Malaysian documentation for the newly arrived illegals.

This study would be useful in assisting the RCI to look into some of the term of reference. Among them:

On how Malaysian documents have been obtained against the processes set in the Federal Constitution.


·         The marginalization of “real” Sabahans in the economy

·         The need for the new laws and new operating procedures

Let me briefly talk about a few laws and actions we propose:

We strongly advocate that the sanctity of the Constitution of Malaysia be upheld.

Article 26 reads:

(1) The Federal Government may by order deprive of his citizenship any citizen by registration or by naturalization if satisfied that the registration or certificate of naturalization –

(a) was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact

Therefore, all efforts must be made to strike off all Malaysian documents obtained contravening the Federal Constitution.

We therefore recommend to this Commission that in order to ensure the integrity of our Identity Cards, every Card should be verified by a competent authority appointed for the purpose . This body can be a special task force comprising officers or professionals from the private sector or even from the civil society movement.  Transparency must be assured. We replace our ICs periodically and therefore there should be no misgivings on the part of any one to surrender his or her IC for the purpose of verification and after which re issued with a new one beyond reproach.


I understand that there are problems in implementing proposed remedies. However there can be no compromise when a Malaysian IC, and consequentially citizenship, is obtained through dubious means. The holder of such document was never a Malaysian citizen in the first place.

If the ICs in Sabah are all recalled and replaced upon verification, this very act will answer all those criticisms faced by the Election Commission on the contamination of the voters list.  Those who have obtained citizenship on the sly and become voters can be struck off the list immediately.

I would like special focus to be given to the IC numbers shown under Category P1, P2 and P3 as shown in Appendix  9.  If identity cards have been issued under these block of numbers, there are 257,026 to be verified immediately.

What do we do with them? They can be given documentation to reflect their situation and perhaps they can be distributed to all the states of Malaysia.

We also propose that new applications for citizenship must undergo a rigorous transparent process before they are approved, perhaps similar to the Banns  of Marriage. A website could be set up for people to comment on applications and all approvals entered into a Register of Citizens  which can be made available to the public.

We propose new laws on treason to ensure that Malaysians who have given or sold Malaysian documentations be held accountable and punished severely for the seriousness of their crimes. This could also be achieved probably by amendments to existing laws.

Likewise, employers who provide jobs to illegals be held accountable and so too other Malaysians who rent houses or land to illegals.

The UPKO Initiative in many instances extends beyond the perimeters of the terms of reference of the RCI. It provides insights into many areas we had little or no understanding of before. We have now concrete data when in the past it was mere speculation. We now know that the extent, size and reach of the economics of IC and birth certificates buying in the state of Sabah. At the same time, the family structures and ethnic affiliations are a source not only for increasing numbers of illegals entering Sabah but the quantum of their entry would certainly if unchecked result in the “real” Sabahans becoming a minority in this country.

As a Party that has long articulated for the formation of the RCI, it is our hope that the Report coming out of this Commission will put to rest this issue once and for all.

We wish the Commission success.

Thank You

Bernard Giluk Dompok

President, UPKO.


  1. I totally agree with the suggestion by several Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) witnesses including assemblymen, to recall all identity cards issued in Sabah to preserve the integrity of these documents.

    1. Cadangan ini harus dikaji secara mendalam. Mungkin juga cara yang baik.

  2. recalling all the ICs was one of the methods to solve illegal immigrant issues in Sabah. Although this may sound extreme, it has to be done. I am sure people would not mind as long as the identities of true Sabahans can be revealed..

    1. Cara ini mungkin memerlukan kos dan tenaga yang berlebihan.

  3. There was a study conducted on this issue and from the study we found that about 257,026 ICs are dubious. apart from that, the laws also must be changed and enforced if the government really wanted to solve the problem.

  4. All Malaysian documents which have been given out to non-Malaysians dubiously should be retracted and their names taken out of the electoral roll.

    1. Senarai pengundi harus juga dikemas kini.

  5. The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into Sabah’s immigrant problem has called for a section of the Sabah Ordinance 1964 on the interpretation of natives to be reviewed at the annual native court conference.

  6. When asked by RCI commissioner Tan Sri Herman J Luping if people from Indonesia, the Philippines or Singapore should be considered as Sabah natives, Kudat District Chief Harun Bidin said: “No. There is a Suluk race in Sabah as well as in the Philippines but we do not recognise Suluk in the Philippines as Sabah natives.”

  7. Herman, who sat in the five-member panel chaired by former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong, also asked if chapter 64 of the Interpretation (Definition of Native) Ordinance should be repealed and brought to the annual native court conference, Harun said it was a good idea.


  8. The inquiry was told there was a draft proposal by the Attorney-General’s Chambers on native family law in Sabah following then state attorney-general Datuk Roderic Fernandez’s statement that the Native Court Enactment 1992 and all the rules made in 1995 had to be revised.

  9. However, Herman said there was no development on it and suggested that Harun bring the matter up at the next native court conference and push for the draft to be realised.

  10. Meanwhile, Kota Marudu native Charles Magada appealed to the government to provide him and his neighbours with houses under the Hardcore Poor Housing Programme (PPRT) in Kampung Bukit Punai. He said the 100 families of Rungus and Dusuns in the squatter area had nowhere else to go once development on the new court complex takes place.

  11. “Our land in Kota Marudu had been taken by oil palm plantation companies. If we have to evacuate the place (Kampung Bukit Punai), we need to find another place as we no longer have land in Kota Marudu to go home to.”

  12. The other panel members are former Universiti Malaysia Sabah vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Seri Dr Kamaruzzaman Ampon, former Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Henry Chin Poy Wu and former Sabah state secretary Datuk KY Mustapha.

  13. The influx of immigrants to Sabah resulted in changes in the state’s political demography, says a witness in the Royal Commission of Inquiry.

    Tamparuli assemblyman Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing said this view corresponded with the facts that he had gathered over the years.

  14. “There were more non-Muslims before we had an influx of immigrants.

    “We now have 18 non-Muslim-majority state seats, about eight Chinese seats and 34 majority Muslim bumiputra seats,” he said.

  15. The Barisan Nasional (BN) government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has risen above "fixed deposit politics" to act sincerely in the interest of all Sabahans against the perennial problem of illegal immigrants by setting up of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI).

  16. Many state leaders, including Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and the people of Sabah alike have given the thumbs for the RCI, although some felt that the Federal government should have set up the RCI much earlier.

  17. They regard the RCI as a panacea to cure the so-called "epidemic" of illegal migration to Sabah, once and for all, and commented that the setting up of the RCI was "better late then never".

  18. Apparently, Najib's bold move in establishing the RCI has given a new lease of life to Sabahans who have been plagued by the issue which has been described as the ‘mother of all problems’.

  19. In what is seen as a genuine effort to find a lasting solution, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has assured the people of Sabah that the government would act on any report or resolution taken by the RCI on illegal immigrants in the state.

  20. "This is the beginning of a better tomorrow for Sabah and the country. Najib has obviously listened to what the people of Sabah wanted - the RCI. We are lucky to have a courageous Prime Minister (Najib) who gives hope to Sabahans, and in return we should give our unwavering support for this noble cause."

  21. Salleh, who is also State Legislative Assembly Speaker, said this showed that the BN government was serious about solving the problem of illegal immigrants, including the issuance of problematic identity cards (IC).

  22. "Based on my own observation, it appears that there is no such thing as a Project IC. It's more of a syndicate (involving several individuals) out to make fast buck," he said.

  23. He said the citizenship process for people who have lived here for a specific period of time and who qualified to become a citizen, was within the law or was done according to the stipulated procedures.

  24. Dompok has made its findings clear.

  25. Dompok memang telah menumpukan sepenuh jiwa raganya untuk ini.

  26. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the architect of numerous government transformation programmes and 1Malaysia concept, is the preferred choice of Sabahans to continue as the Prime Minister of Malaysia

  27. this was evident from strong grassroots support and large turnout to welcome Najib during his recent visit to Sabah to drum up support, ahead of the crucial general election that has been called "the mother of all battles"

  28. this was consistent with the findings of a recent survey conducted by the Merdeka Centre, rating Najib's popularity amongst Sabahans at the comfortable level of more than 70 per cent.

  29. UPKO memang bertungkus lumus untuk menyelesaikan masalah.

  30. 13th general election was an important election for the ruling BN as "it is perceived as a test to Najib’s popularity as he needs a strong mandate to continue to rule Malaysia".

    1. Najib menghadapi cabaran yang besar. PRu13 membuktikan semakin banyak yang menolak BN.

  31. his confidence was based on several factors, including the failure of the opposition in Sabah to form a strong pact, the absence of a strong Chinese leader in the opposition.

  32. Semoga apa yang dibentangkan dapat diterima

  33. Good luck to all who have done their best in this.

  34. Usaha UPKO harus dinilai.