The irony is, the certificate confirming one is a bumiputra had not escaped the covetousness of those with crooked mind. The certificate were well sought after by some Chinese businessmen who wanted to get their hands on cheap NT (Native Title) land.The racket involved paying bribes to ketua kampong(village chief) or native chief for him to swear that you were born in his kampong (village) and have known you from the day you were born.This government appointed ketua kampong would, without any shame, joyfully issue you with a Statutory Declaration confirming the lie, as long as you pay him some money.This sham became so widespread that the government had to withdraw the issuance of such certificate putting those who qualify in a dilemma.
The most serious threat to those who are truly Malaysians are the illegal immigrants that have been issued with Malaysian identity cards making them more bumiputras than the indigenous people.Some of them have been accepted as bumiputras and enjoy all the privileges of this highly sought-after status.In most major towns, Sabahans are overwhelmed by them. In some areas the ratio is so high one could feel the presence of being either in the Philippines or Indonesia.
The illegals came bringing with them their distasteful culture and disgusting social habits.In the past, before the mass migration of these aliens to this land, Sabahans need not lock the doors to their homes and cars.There may be some truth that crimes came with progress but it is even more true that crimes are the products of poverty rather than progress.The higher the rate of poverty the higher would be the crime rate.Undoubtedly, they have brought with them not only poverty but also a culture of crime.
Sabah has never had roadside stalls culture until the arrival of these illegal immigrants where rickety stalls of all shapes and sizes can be found on roadsides and on open spaces in town centre selling anything from fish,vegetables,fruits,cooked food to whatever they fancy they could sell.These stalls are dirty, unsightly,unhygienic and as illegal as the illegals themselves, most have no permit and erected the makeshift structure without proper approval from the relevant authorities.For some unknown reasons the authorities have turned a blind eye to this lawless behaviour.
Hawker's stalls have always been part of the culture and still are but there is a big difference between Sabah and the Philippines,Indonesia and Peninsula Malaysia where road side and outdoor stalls have always been part of the landscape.
In Sabah, in the past, most food stalls are found in Chinese coffee shops where they have proper running water, electricity,tables and chairs and a cleaner environment.It was not uncommon to find Malay food stall in the same coffee shop as Chinese food stall and sharing the same facilities.Such scenario can still be seen in some of the major towns in Sabah where people from different racial and religious background and varied social structure sharing the same food outlet without any social hangups and completely impervious to religious constraints.Sabah was the epitome of racial integration and religious tolerance. That's was before, things are slowly changing.
Muslims in Sabah have begun to follow their counterparts in the Peninsula in taking to more extreme views of Islamic teachings, restraining themselves from mixing freely with Malaysians of other faiths.This clique culture, mixing only with people of your own faith, is an obstacle to integration.This change of attitude was brought about by religious teachers brought over from Peninsula Malaysia. Whether it was an isolated case or a general trend among these religious teachers, a friend once told me that he was shocked when an ustaz told him Muslims are forbidden from visiting non-Muslim's house.
In Sabah there were many inter marriages among different faiths.Those who marry Muslims converted to Islam but still maintained strong link with their non-Muslim families.It is quite common to find Muslims ,Christians,Buddish and even atheists in one family brought together by marriages.Religion has never been an issue here and it is quite normal for Muslims to go to church to attend funerals or weddings of close friends or relatives.These are things that religious teachers from the Peninsula are not used to and looked upon with disdain.
For many Sabahans the fear of losing their birth rights and fear of the alien community taking over political and economic power in the future are real.There are as many aliens, if not more, as locals and one may ask whether this is truly our country or we have become refugees in our own land.
The promise to flush them out has fizzled out.It is 'All Quiet On The Sabah Front'.The future Prime Minister is now busy making new set of promises to the people of Trengganu and the Sabah politicians are back to their lairs and their seistas.