Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bah, Humbug!

It’s never possible that there’d be a Christmas holiday season without someone acting out like the Scrooge. Well, here’s one story for you, and that too on Christmas eve!

N Gobalakrishnan, the MP for Padang Serai, being denied entry into Sarawak because he was not ‘a citizen of Sarawak’ nor did he have the necessary ‘permit’ for entry! Oh, and by the way, I suppose it's just a coincidence that the MP happens to be from PKR. I suppose the Barisan Nasional-led state government in Sarawak must really be hot on the case of all ‘illegitimate’ arrivals into the state! Now, there’s an example of a truly efficient state, don’t you think so?

Maybe the Sabah state government should take a page off of Sarawak’s highly proficient strategy of keeping out ‘illegal’ visitors and immigrants to its state. As we know, Sabah seems to be having an especially challenging time dealing with illegal immigrant problem. Now here’s a picture to behold, don’t you think: an MP is detained and denied entry into East Malaysia, but illegal immigrants in that part of the country seemingly find ways around the system to procure a MyKad.

Ironic isn’t it, that
Malaysians such as one Kamaruddin B Omar can be in East Malaysia (in this case Sabah) for decades and married to a local but still has to leave the state and re-enter every three months. So we have a situation where on the one hand, illegal immigrants seem to fairly easily dupe immigration authorities in East Malaysia, and on the other, they seem to diligently enforce the law against Malaysians – be they ‘common’ citizens such as Kamaruddin or the MP Gobalakrishnan.

In the latter case, the MP concerned seems convinced that his detention and refusal of entry into Sarawak was politically motivated. Well, if so, here’s another perfect illustration of petty politics at work. If indeed this episode was politically motivated, it’s truly indicative of what I call our ‘the third world mindset.’ Really, are these Sarawak politicians behind such pettiness really that insecure about some apparent criticism by the MP as to seemingly retaliate with such flexing of their muscle: Ooo, wow, they must obviously be so powerful, right? After all, see they can really mess with you and bring the wrath of the immigration authorities to deny you entry into the state! Wow!! I’m really impressed by such petty politics, aren’t you?

I’m sure like me, most other Malaysians must have been truly impressed by the immigration authorities in ensuring that the Padang Serai MP did not get entry into Kuching – even if thousands of illegal immigrants make a mockery of the immigration laws - a glaring testament of the failings of the state and federal governments in dealing with the salient immigration problems.

For those who were the architects of the pettiness against MP Gobalakrishnan, they’ve truly lived up to the spirit of the Scrooge.

G. Krishnan