(22 January 2001)

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah and Federal governments should assertively pursue with the new administration of the Philippines in seeking a lasting solution to the State's illegal immigrant problem, said former Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

Commenting on the installation of Gloria Arroyo as the new President of the Philippines, Yong noted that as Vice President, she was responsible for the social programmes in the Southern Philippines, including the resettlement and re-integration of illegal immigrants who had been repatriated from Malaysia.

"Such programmes include job creation, housing and social safety net. Such reintegration programmes would undoubtedly help Malaysia's efforts to ensure the return of illegals to the Philippines," he said.

Yong, who is also SAPP President and Gaya MP, however, observed that the new Philippine President had made a declaration of "bold national ambitions" as the first of her four core values.

"We should exercise more diplomacy and Asean spirit in understanding this declaration of the new Philippine President," Yong cautioned.

"This is in view of the recent history (1961-1965) when her father, the then Philippine President, Diosdado Macapagal, reactivated the Philippine claim on Sabah," he explained.



Datuk Yong Teck Lee
Member of Parliament for P150 Gaya / State Assemblyman for N13 Likas







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