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  • Wartawan Nabalu News

UPKO supports financial aid for Palestine, but not refugee resettlement


16 November 2023

By Wartawan Nabalu News


KOTA KINABALU: UPKO is reminding the State government to exercise caution when supporting the country's effort in aiding Palestinian war victims so as not to accept any overbearing responsibilities that may cause the disruption of harmony, now or in future, in Sabah.


It's International Relations Bureau Chief Rowindy Lawrence Odong said any responses should be confined to financial aid only and that any suggestion to allow Palestinian refugees to enter Sabah should be immediately rejected.


"We are sympathetic to the plight of the war victims there (in Palestine) but we must be very careful not to over extend ourselves on assistance that could eventually sow distress and divisiveness among Sabahans.


"Sabahans all know, and I think the entire country is aware that we have a long-standing issue of immigrants here, that was left behind as a consequence of political manoeuvring by certain leaders in the past.


"As it stands, it has left us with the burden of navigating paths towards clear solutions to eradicate some of the social problems that have stemmed from this issue.


"We are absolutely in no position to accept any refugees, and I think the clear stance to make on any otherwise suggestion is outright rejection.


"As the chief for our Bureau of International Relations, it saddens me to have to make this stance, but I believe we must put the interest of our own citizens first above all else," she said in a statement here today.


Rowindy stated her remarks in support of Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi's statement of a similar response in the interest of preserving harmony in Sarawak.


"Like them (Sarawak), what we can do is contribute financially to help the war victims who are suffering.


"We can buy essential supplies for them," she said while reiterating Nanta's sentiment that such would be a more meaningful and safer way of showing support.


Towards this end, Rowindy called on more Sabahans to contribute to the Tabung for Palestinians who are suffering from the war.


"Let's help the victims in the best and safest way that we can," she said.

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