In a secret meeting last night, Umno warlords in Sabah convinced Najib Tun Razak that the mostly Muslim legalised illegals had voted in BN in every consecutive elections.
KOTA KINABALU: The much-anticipated announcement on the Federal Cabinet agreement to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the large presence of illegal foreigners in Sabah and the rampant issuance of Malaysian documents to them, failed to materialise today.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who was expected to announce the RCI in Lahad Datu, instead cancelled his scheduled press conference after a function in Kampung Nala in Tungku near Lahad Datu and went straight to Tawau where his government executive jet flew him to Kuala Lumpur.
Senior journalists who were tipped by Najib’s entourage of the possible announcement on RCI were taken back with the PM’s “change of plan”.
It was believed Najib decided to withhold any announcement on the proposed RCI after he had an ‘unscheduled’ meeting with Sabah Umno leaders here last night.
According to some journalists, who were with Najib in Lahad Datu, everybody had expected the RCI announcement in Tungku, Lahad Datu after the premier, who was on a two-day visit to Sabah, did not do so while in Sipitang yesterday.
“Frustration was painted on the face of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Upko senior vice president Dr Ewon Ebin here in Lahad Datu.
“We do not know if they genuinely did not know (that there is no announcement on RCI) or they already knew last night, but they look a bit gloomy afterwards when the premier left,” said a journalist.
Umno-BN’s fixed deposit
FMT meanwhile was made to understand that key Sabah Umno leaders spoke strongly against announcing the RCI now with a looming general election.
Najib had earlier during the BN meeting hinted to them that his visit could be the last before Paliament is dissolved.
This had prompted the influential Umno cliques here to quickly gather around Najib last night and brief him about Umno’s strength in the state which rests among the mostly Muslim illegal immigrants who have been voting in BN in successive elections.
This new development is expected to heat public debate on the ruling party’s sincerity to resolve the Sabah problem of being overwhelmed by immigrants from neighbouring Muslim districts in southern Philippines and Indonesia.