Funny old lady from Tamparuli | Credit: Pison Jaujip on

Sabahans are renowned for their friendly nature and welcoming attitude but is everyone feeling the warmth of the welcome? Chris Wright speaks on a touchy subject of Sabah’s hidden racism.

Funny old lady from Tamparuli | Credit: Pison Jaujip on

Here in Sabah, many of my friends take great pride in being Sabahans.

“We’re Sabahans first and Malaysians last.”

“Ya bah!”, another friend replies.

Whether it be describing your favourite Sabahan food, the environment, or one’s hatred for the traffic in West Malaysia, Sabahans just love Sabah. And who could blame them!

But one thing that I have heard from everyone here is a feeling that in Sabah, people are much more friendly to each other than in West Malaysia.

“We’re just more relaxed than West Malaysians.”

“What do you mean?”, I ask.

“I mean when you study in West Malaysia and you walk into a classroom, you see the Malays over on one side, and the Chinese over there and the Indians on the other side. They don’t mix. They always say things like 1Malaysia and ‘truly Asia’, but it’s not. Here in Sabah, we are 1Malaysia.”

These words rung true recently when I hosted a few friends from West Malaysia who were shocked at how friendly Sabahans were to each other.

“People are so friendly here. I mean, the other day I was just walking the street and people actually said hello as I walked past. That stuff never happens in KL.”

When I asked about the ethnic differences in the West, they also agreed with my Sabahan friends: “Yeah, people here seem to mix a lot more than in West Malaysia.”

So I guess, it must be true, to an extent at least. In my personal experience, I have yet to experience a place quite as friendly, safe and welcoming as Sabah. Sabah is always promoted for its natural beauty, but it has been its human welcome that has so impressed me.

Friendly smiles from Kundasang, Ranau | Photo credit: esharkj on

But as an Australian who grew up in a country that loves to promote its multicultural image, I’m always a bit skeptical whenever I hear anyone boast about their lack of racism.

So maybe I’m the one who is tainted.

I will always remember that when I first came to Kota Kinabalu and planned to walk along the waterfront, I was warned to “watch out for the Filipinos. They’re dangerous.”

This shocked me more than a little.

Previously I had worked in the Philippines and fell in love with the place, the emotion, the food, the fun and the people. My whole perception of the Philippines was one of kindness and colour, and I have yet to meet a Filipino I didn’t get along with. But here I was, being told to “watch out” for them.

“What?! All the Filipinos I know are nice,” I replied.

“Yeah, some are nice, but they’re the one’s in Manila. The one’s here aren’t nice. They’re all criminals.”

Is this the face of a criminal? Filipino market worker in KK | Photo credit: Matt Watts on


Since this time, I have found this criminalised image of Filipino and Indonesian migrants to be a commonly held belief.

When I do ask, “have you ever been robbed?”, some of my friends have indeed told me some horrible stories in response. Yet about 90% of people reply in the negative and can’t recall anyone they know being attacked either.

Most Sabahans would not initially refer to them as “Filipinos” but instead, simply use the phrase “the illegals”. It is assumed that you know who are “the illegals”. This is of course unless you are talking about “Projek IC” whereby “the illegals” might be denigrated for being given legal status to vote in Sabah.

I have also heard the word, “pilak”: “nobody rides the buses here in KK because they’re scared of the pilaks on the bus.”

In a recent meeting on pollution issues in Kota Kinabalu, I remember one successful Sabahan businessman arguing that “it’s all because of the people on Pulau Gaya.” In case you haven’t guessed, Pulau Gaya rises out from the ocean, only a small boat ride from Kota Kinabalu and is home to one of the largest communities of Bajau and Filipino migrants in Sabah. Oh, and they had nothing to do with the pollution.

Even in conversations with sympathising, well travelled friends, I have often heard statements such as: “They’re not all that bad. I mean, if you can educate the children early on, maybe they won’t turn out soooo bad but if you don’t, they’ll just end up stealing.”

"If we educate them, they won't end up as thieves." Children at the Filipino market in KK. | Photo credit: Jaffrin Shahrom on


While I hate to say this, to me this sounds like something I have heard before, in Australia. When the Australian government went about kidnapping Aboriginal children as late as the 1970’s, they used to make statements like, “if you can educate the children, maybe they won’t turn out so bad.” And the government had said it enough, that some people started believing them.

Even now, as Australian politicians continue to argue that “boat people” seeking asylum in Australia remain the biggest threat to its national security, so too do I hear the echoes of Sabahans arguing that Sabah used to be safe until the “illegals” arrived.

Neither one likes to use the word “refugee”.

So it strikes me to ask, is Sabah as racism-free as it seems?

Maybe it’s time that we ask someone from the Philippines or Indonesia. After all, they make up over 1/3 of Sabah’s population these days.

In fact, the “illegals” might even be “the majority”.

There is no doubt a political side behind all of this, but politics is one thing and people are another.

Unfortunately unfashionable and often underperforms in table manners contests, but hopefully the blogs bust without too many drops on the table, or dribbles down my top.

38 replies on “Sabah’s Racism”

  1. I am from Mindanao, Southern Philippines. I feel exactly the same as what sabahans feel towards this pilaks. Pilak in the PH means silver, a coin, money. These illegal filipino immigrants in Sabah are tausug and bajao, from sulu basilan tawi tawi and zamboanga. Whether muslims or not, i would really say majority of them are troublemakers. Many of the place in our provinces the are migrating, again even if the the very small minority, they are the migrants, They still act as if they native or owning the place. They are almost the roots of troubles in our place. Muslim peacelovers like to be with Christians. Muslim troublemakes like to be with this worse guys and they don't like to be educated. They don't want to go to school. They just keep on using the name of Allah at defeat others and the innocents. I know what i am writing is considered racism. I am a Filipino but I am with Sabahans in this argument.

  2. Hmm, I might be a little late but hey, I'm a Sabahan and I think I deserve to voice out.. Anyhow, to the author of this article, I like the first part of your writing, in the sense that you actually realise how different Sabah is from the Peninsular Malaysia.. Having lived here, well, still residing here in Peninsular, I could say, Sabah has always been a better, or simply the best place for me to live.. Regarding the subtle racism thing, I don't really think that deserve to be called so, here is the thing, as explained by many on this thread previously, those people whom we called Pilak are the troublemakers, those who cause nothing but chaos and rowdiness.. Sure most of them are those who came to Sabah illegally, and oh, the picture you've attached along with this article, he surely not one the Pilaks we are referring to.. Why? As long as they don't act like one, they are considered to be part of us, whom allegedly, claimed as living peacefully, without racism issue ( somehing untrue because you know, nothing is perfect ) Just one thing, racism exists everywhere, Sabah is not excluded as well.. As a proud Sabahan, I really hope that sometime in the future, should you have a plan to visit Sabah again, you will want to have a better perspective and wider angle while observing the way we live our life here.. It all goes down to understanding the root before criticizing the produce.. Have a nice day..

  3. Ya bah Chris. You foreigners talk only . just a short visit does not make u sn expert in Sabah's problems. Its just like me talking about Ossie politics after studying for 3 years there. Do a Phd in sabah history first

  4. "Pilak" is the Filipino word for silver. Secondary meanings are money or as an adejctive to describe something pure, or something precious, valuable, like silver. How odd that it's used as a derogatory slur in KK.

  5. do you know why majority of sabahans hate these illegal immigrants? they behave like they own the place. the modern usage for 'pilak' is used to denote anyone who behaves like assturds, dress like poopsicles, talks like dogshit, regardless of their race. illegals immigrants is a different story.

    why sabahan hate them you wonder, because they enter the state ILLEGALLY, and behave like total 'pilak'. they run business, illegally, without paying taxes. they use public transportation and make a mess out of it. you have to literally compete with these bastards just to get a seat. these ILLEGALS provide unnecessary BURDEN to us, the public transportation, frigging hospital beds, public space, houses, the fringgin elevator, the list goes on. and they behave like total bastards everytime i see one in KK.

  6. I think this is a natural reaction for any groups of people or ethnicities when they find themselves suddenly surrounded by massive numbers of foreign people leading different lifestyles. Especially when they think that the government had no role in creating this mess. Otherwise they would have directed more of their anger towards the govt instead. Nobody said that Sabah is perfect. Of course there is racism even among Sabahans. But citing Sabahans' anger towards the these foreigners just to prove that Sabahans are not as friendly as people claim seems rather desperate and unfair.

  7. You probably need to do you homework first regarding to the current political situation we as Sabahan are facing… This is such a lame article where obviously you have not idea what you were talking about. By concluding your article with "There is no doubt a political side behind all of this, but politics is one thing and people are another." is simply pathetic… What you don't know is, these illegal immigrant are of a produce of the corrupt governance

  8. dear chris, with your so called business visit to sabah please dont make such claims if you dont know the story behind all that. If you really want to see the true colours please come and stay with us longer.make it 20 or 30 years then you have the right to judge us. If you took your time and read the news everyday should give you a brief description on the problems they gave us.

  9. One foreigner comes in, senses something wrong wt the air in Sabah, voices his opinions on LB – and hey presto, the locals bertikam ego.. And some just idolize the kwailoh mentality..

    I stand by my old skool style of "Where're you from? This is my land, my hometown. Why don't you go home & behave."

  10. Hi starranise!

    Thanks for your comment about LoyarBurok. Much appreciated.

    I understand the blawg to be an open platform attempting to create a safe space for the airing of different views. (It is not a news site dedicated to one issue only.)

    Anyone and everyone can write:

    All LoyarBurokkers (those who write on the blawg) have a unique username and password by registering here:

    Everyone "owns" the blawg, so to speak.

    The blawg publishes all posts uploaded whether the MastHead (editorial) team agrees with the views therein or otherwise. And the posts do not reflect the collective view of LoyarBurok because is only a platform, a medium of communication where all of us should be able to write fearlessly.

    I would respectfully encourage you to register your account to write a rebuttal (if you so wish) for your important views to be shared.

    Thank you!

    Edmund Bon

  11. Hi Chris, respect for sticking your neck out on this issue. I'm with you 100%

    Ray, I like your counter-argument and would ask you to look at it objectively and tell me if you see any similarity with the predicament of the Malays at the formation of Malaysia? I believe that at that time the Malays feared being outnumbered by Chinese and Indian Immigrants?

    Racism, like domestic violence and sexual abuse, is cyclical from one generation to the next. This generation of compassionate and enlightened Sabahans has the opportunity to break the cycle.

    1. Ian,

      With regards to West Malaysia, I'm afraid I may not be able to make as fair an assessment due to my lack of knowledge and experience of West Malaysia. Throughout most of my life, West Malaysia was simply a transit point between Sabah and the rest of the world. The only thing I know about West Malaysia is the strange way that the general public separates itself into racial groups, and how they tend to ignore Sabah and Sabahans.

      However, in the spirit of fairness of someone with an 'outsiders perspective' of West Malaysia, this is what I would say:

      In West Malaysia, the Malays, Chinese and Indians are ALL immigrants and the Orang Asli (Semang, Senoi and Proto-Malay) are the natives.

      Mahatir said about the Orang Asli: " if we consider that the Orang Asli had more rights to claim Malaysia as their own, then we should acknowledge and respect the rights of the Red Indians, the Maoris, the Australian aborigines and all the other aborigines to be given back the land we now call America, Australia, New Zealand…"

      As much as I disagree with Mahatir, he creates a question that is not easy to answer. Should later immigrants have more more or less rights than earlier immigrants? After all, Malays, Chinese and Indians are all immigrants, some came earlier and others came later.

      Of course, there is a difference between a Malay as defined by the Malaysian government, and a Malay as defined by anthropologists.

      Some of the Orang Asli are a Malay group, although they do not follow any of the religions and cultures of the modern definition of Malay.

      According to Article 160 of the 20th-century created Constitution of Malaysia, a "Malay" means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom.

      However, prior to the 15th century, Malays were predominantly Hindu, which means that Malays as defined by the Constitution only existed in West Malaysia after the 15th century.

      Indians introduced Buddhism and Hinduism approximately 2000 years ago, and there were Chinese monk visitors since the 7th century. It seems however there was a larger Indian presence in the 10th century and Chinese settlements by the 15th century. Of course, the majority influx of Chinese and Indian immigrants came during the British era. My family were Chinese immigrants who were sent to Jesselton, British North Borneo as civil engineers. It was only 12 years after they moved here that Sabah became part of Malaysia.

      Are the Orang Asli Proto-Malays the ones who should be worried by the 15th century Malays? Are the 15th century Malays to be worried by the 15th century Chinese or the 10th century Indians? I personally think that it's complicated, and there are no easy answers.

      So from my perspective, no, I don't see a similarity between West Malaysia's concern over legal immigrants to be the same as the Sabahan situation where West Malaysia is trying to dominate Sabah by introducing pseudo-Malays.

      1. I would say this is spot on and I would like you to take the offer of these LB people and write in a proper article.

        Thanks Ray.

      2. Imported Malay Bumiputras are a fact in West Malaysia – it is a political strategy by Tun Razak with NEP during that time the Malay population was only one-third; then was further enhanced by Dr. M's vision 2020 – encouraging the Malays to have more children so that they have superiority of numbers to control the Parliament – given the child-birth rate was not enough – he started a campaign to import "Malays" — which to me is a betrayal of those Malays who are real Bumiputra – those that are born in this country – to those who are imported ala "masuk melayu" imported Malays. The lack of Jus Soli policy reduces the rights of those who are born in this land.

  12. Chris,

    Thank you for publishing this fantastic article.

    I note from the comments that you have touched a raw nerve, and some are trying to justify their attitudes towards illegal immigrants on other bases.

    That may or may not be true. But your observations as a newcomer to the State are valuable, and helps to shine a light on latent prejudices.

    I would urge commentors to take a hard look at themselves, and not to be so defensive.

    And @starranise – if you want to write a rebuttal, LB would be happy to publish.


    1. With regards to racism in Sabah, don't get me wrong, I think it does exist. I just don't think that Chris has got it right regarding the illegal immigrants.

      The racism I see in Sabah tends to be ignorant racism. I went to a comedy show a week or so ago, and one of the Indian comedians referred to African-Americans as 'niggers'. Of course, having lived in the UK and the US, this would not be accepted. I have also seen some of my friends joke about Africans lips and body parts, without realising that they were being racist.

      However, with regards to Filipino illegal immigrants, I have even heard legal Filipinos refer to illegals as 'Pilaks'. Are you going to accuse Filipinos of being racist towards Filipinos? My contention with Chris's article is that it is illogical. Some of my Filipino friends are scared to go near illegal immigrant areas. Does that make my Filipino friends racist against other Filipinos?

      What I would agree with however is the aspect of prejudice. There is definitely prejudice towards the illegal immigrants, but calling it racism is simply illogical and incorrect.

      I would say that it would be more similar to how Americans talk about 'White Trash' and how the British news talks about the 'Underclass'. Obviously not racism, they are however, descriptions used to for poor, uneducated groups who generally abuse the government system.

      You could write an alternative article about Sabah's Underclass and the prejudice they face. At least that would be more accurate than calling it racism.

      1. I certainly think that the general feeling Chris was sensing and tried to explore in the article is the prejudice that Sabahans have against the refugees and improperly documented persons.

        It looked a lot like racism because accidentally the people who are at the receiving end of this prejudice mainly are the Filipinos and the Indonesians.

        I must admit that Chris had traversed the path that pricked some nerves (because it did prick mine) but I must equally admit that this article is a wake up call to us; calling us to be objective and fair; a call to examine ourselves as well as our relations viz-a-viz the "others".

        I am a proud Sabahan and I hold the State and the people dear in my heart, but please Chris, do not offer any apology. Offer me a drink instead.

    2. Agreed. I think those commentators who got so riled up neglected to pay attention to the last sentence of the article. To quote:

      "There is no doubt a political side behind all of this, but politics is one thing and people are another."

      Yes, there might be a sinister political agenda in Sabah. But is that any excuse to treat your fellow man as if he were somehow less than a human being. You can campaign for a review of the law, or stricter enforcement of it, but for many of those ethnic Filipinos and Indonesians presently residing in Sabah, they have obtained their permits through approved means. Some of them, as has been noted in the article, have been there for generations.

      The writer is not concerned with the rightness or wrongness of the political agenda; he is concerned with the attitude of the Sabahans towards their neighbours.

  13. As a news site that has dedicatedly addressed Sabah's PTI issues I would have hoped that LB would understand that the antagonism Sabahans feel towards PTIs isn't just wanton prejudice. It is the outcome of years of abuse; of being betrayed by the federal government who favour illegal immigrants before their citizens for the sole purpose of commanding power in Sabah.

    Project IC is the government's way of performing ethnic cleansing on Sabahans – by illicitly increasing Malay and Muslim numbers so that they outnumber Sabahans themselves. Sabahans no longer have voting power in their own home. This situation is serious and has been going on for decades.

    In no way am I trying to justify 'racism' as the author puts it but these feelings stem from a far more complex situation. It is extremely unfair to belittle the cause of these frustrations.

    I respect the author's right to his opinion but I find it distasteful that LB would publish this article, which is clearly misinformed. To accuse all Sabahans of being 'secretly racist' is in itself a bigoted statement. I think Sabahans deserve an apology.

    1. Lol "Sabahans deserve an apology" – thank you Nadira for the big laugh!

      Give Sabahans more credit than you are giving yourself – I am sure they can handle such "criticism" – which is really one young chap's attempt in understanding Sabah better.

      1. Hi junerubis,

        The point here is the "young chap's attempt" was flawed… He didn't/doesn't understand the issue as a whole so it has sparked all this rebuttal.

        Hi LB editors I know you guys are looking at this and backing Chris up because you feel the same. Why don't you ladies and gentlemen take one step back and even consider for a moment if maybe his judgement (and yours) is wrong. They would not be so much articulate rebuttals if he was spot on, right?

        Kudos to Ray, Nadira, Amde for speaking so well.

        Once again, I say, we in Sabah are just damn fed up with how ALL illegal fault the immigration laws. For me this includes all foreigners coming into Sabah with their tourist visa, social visa and then working.

        Chris, now I really want to know, since I have seen you at government meetings, do you have a work visa? Are you too faulting the immigration laws? In which case I would now lump you in the same category.

        I do not hate you (or the group of illegals you belong too) but I do feel you are taking advantage of us by flouting the immigration rules. And this I definitely do not like regardless of nationality or race.


        1. Dear Pascale

          Regarding your comment directed to LB and its editorial team (MastHead), kindly have a look at my reply to starranise and particularly on LB’s terms of use. You are more than welcome to post your own views either as a comment (as you have done) or if it is longer (800-1000 words or more) as a stand-alone post!

          Edmund Bon

      2. junerubis – heard u r from Sarawak. What r u doing in Sabah? Have u got a valid work pass? Is that why u cannot empathize with Sabahans?

        As staranise said, "… the antagonism Sabahans feel towards PTIs isn't just wanton prejudice. It is the outcome of years of abuse; of being betrayed by the federal government who favour illegal immigrants before their citizens for the sole purpose of commanding power in Sabah. "

        U r from Sarawak, so how can u even begin to "defend" Chris, if u hv lived in KK for so many moons?

      3. June, it is so typical of you to be so assertive on Sabahan issues when you don't know jack. Ok, fine. The "Sabahans deserve an apology" was fking cheesy and I take that back. I regretted saying it soon as I posted it but I felt really hurt reading this article. I don't blame Chris for thinking this way or for this to be part of his process of learning but I know that you June, should know better. You've been in Sabah long enough by now.

        LB endorses freedom of speech, that's great but you also endorsed this message – "PTIs aren't a problem, Sabahans are just racist and they won't admit it." How is that so different from Nazri Aziz saying illegals in Sabah are not a threat? It's so insensitive and shocking considering we're meant to be fighting from the same side.

        No one's really talked about what it feels like to be Sabahan or an illegal immigrant and have to live in this situation. It's difficult, embarrassing and complex. There's a lot of pent up frustration that hasn't fully been expressed. Considering our long history, I think Sabahans and illegal migrants have also had a strong though awkward relationship. The relationship has not been flawless but for decades they have been part of our community; we marry in, work together, live together, we share the same land but they need to stop coming in through illegal channels because there are too many of them now and we can't support them. We can barely even support ourselves.

        This is Sabah's biggest threat. I'm not talking about a physical or criminal threat. I'm talking about a threat to our democracy, economy and culture. We're being bombarded by illegals and West Malaysian politics and if this continues, the Sabah as it used to be 50 years ago will cease to exist. Maybe that's not important to you, but it's important to me.

        Controlled immigration is a basic necessity in ensuring national security and we don't even have that. Sabahans haven't had fair elections in decades because of Project IC. Who wouldn't be angry? How is this about racism at all?

  14. To the Christ – U dont deserve to judge us by just referring from your "bussiness visit" or whatever visit it called. make your homework properly and revert to us. U need to explore this whole land and talk to the people before u make another conclusion. until then, u better shut you mouth up.

  15. To Christ the writer, my short respond is that there is a different between the term illegal immigrants and race.

    In Philippines-Manila alike, people are friendly, I totally agree; but what actually people that you met in Kota Kinabalu meant is this, Filipinos that came to Sabah illegally -illegal immigrants-without proper legal document, who most are from Southern Philippines, not the Tagalong speaking per se but ‘Badjau + Suluk’ dialect.

    Many Sabahans can’t even distinguish if there are any other small groups of Filipinos from Southern Philippines, in that scenario they would just lump as pilak.

    Word pilak to Filipinos is Ringgit (currency). Because it sounds strange to Sabahans they associate it with this group of people.

    Filipinos who are assimilated into rural Sabahans, those who came to Sabah in the 60s or even earlier never been called pilak –even the least educated Sabahans knew what made Filipinos Sabahans.

    In order words, this is a manifestation of disagreement or objection of the ordinarily people to what the Government of the day was and is doing.
    Proper documented foreigners from Philippines if known, say tourists alike are unlikely to be mocked or called pilak, thus pilak isn’t about race.

  16. Chris,

    I have meet you before and I think your smart kind fellow but you actually just scratched the surface which is evident by your last sentence: "There is no doubt a political side behind all of this, but politics is one thing and people are another."

    That is the CORE issue. You can't separate it. I for one loath us always blaming immigrants but yes, until the 1970s people really did leave their freaking doors open!! It was that safe. But we have no one to blame but ourselves for this as Mustapha brought them into Sabah.

    I think that like any other immigrants to any other country, they should follow due process and the law. That means NOT having blue ICs and bumiputera status nor having the right to vote until they have citizenship. And it also means paying to have EPF, SOCSO and paying taxes (if applies, of course almost all would fall below this line). It means getting proper papers/visas and this should apply to all visitors/immigrants to Sabah or anywhere else.

    I also want to see white foreigners who fly in and out of Sabah do the same by the way. Tell us Chris, do you have a work pass to be in Sabah? I bet you are most likely on a Tourist Visa, like the hundreds of other Mat Salleh's in Sabah working disguising themselves as tourist or volunteers.

    I don't like this group of people abusing Sabah's immigration system just as much as the immigrants from Indonesia and Phillipines whom we could not survive without their services.

    Shalom brother.

    1. You must've been a Hebraic-Sabahan. It's clearly you are confuse what is inner "peace" and verbal peace. You should intelligently comment on the writer's opinion not his tourist/worker visa or his Mat Salleh-ness. It's a shame that your "shalom" is but a false religious delusion than an inner transformation.

      You were right about politic+people are one issue but you missed the grammatical literacy of this Aussie's writings but refusing to understands the humanistic values that he is trying to convey. How could you use "shalom" and treat another human being as if they deserve to be treated politically. Your fear-based argument demean the possibility of understanding human conditions and fix them to mere immigration treatment.

      Instead of you, try to correct your own politicians, you opt to correct the foreigners. Ndak ka budu klu mcm tu? Aiso tutok ka dii mohoing. Bagus tu "slander" lagi tu urg putih lepas tu ko pi "speak in tongue" using their theology..

  17. The issue with illegal immigrants isn't really about race.

    We all know legitimate Filipinos and Indonesians who are our friends, co-workers, husbands/wives/parents etc. And no one has any problem with the legal Filipinos who work in the bars and pubs in Sabah. If Sabahans were really racist against Filipinos, no one would hire them and pay them even more than they pay local bands to perform…and if Sabahans were really as racist towards Filipinos as you describe, then we would all avoid any bar that employs Filipinos. Obviously, this is not the case.

    However, it is true that illegal immigrants are generally poorer and it's easier for them to turn to crime. And it's true that there have been a number of murders, rapes, burglaries and muggings mostly committed by illegal immigrants. And it's more likely that if a small child comes begging, it'll probably be the child of an illegal immigrant…and sadly, it's not really about race, but poverty.

    Indirectly, this poverty is created partially by West Malaysia's Project IC. Free citizenship for anyone who becomes Muslim (or in essence Malay).

    The Kadazan-Dusuns, Muruts, Bajaus, Rungus etc. are the original inhabitants of Sabah. Malays are not (apart from the Bruneian Malays who number approx 6% of the population). West Malaysians require a work permit to work in Sabah. Actual Malays in Sabah are pretty low…so the easiest way to create a bigger Malay presence is to get Muslim Filipinos to register as Bumiputera Malays. I personally know Christian Filipinos who have been offered citizenship, if they just convert to Islam.

    Honestly, if West Malaysia introduced Arabs or Bangladeshis to Sabah giving them free citizenship just for being Muslim, Sabahans would feel anger towards them too. It's not about race…it's about taking a free and open land belonging to the natives, and bringing it under the control of a political and religious institution of colonizers by creating 'pseudo-natives'.

    The original people of West Malaysia are the Orang Asli, who are now very very few in number. The original people of Sabah are very high, and it would be great if it was kept that way, but if West Malaysia keeps doing what it is doing, eventually pseudo-Malays (Filipinos who accept citizenship by become Muslim) will over-run the native community.

    Your analogy of Sabahans being like Australians and Filipinos being like Aboriginals is a bit upside down. I would describe Sabahans as the natives, and Malays as the colonizers who can't completely take over because of the 20-point agreement, so they create Malays by giving free 'native' Malay citizenship to anyone who becomes Muslim.
    It's not about race. It's about freedom from religion and West Malaysian control. Live a bit longer in Sabah, and you'll be able to see it for yourself. :)

    So with regard to Filipinos, I wouldn't say it's racism per se but anger against having your land stolen from you. And perhaps it's racism against Malays for using Filipinos and Indonesians to make Sabah more Malay…or basically more under the control of a religious institution.

    So if Sabahans are racist, then it would be the same racism as Native Americans feel towards White people, or how Native Australians feel towards Anglo-Australians.

    So the question is, is it racism, or is it anger towards social injustice? I would argue for the latter.

  18. There is non in the world that we can label as racism free nation….even in the very liberal Norway did a terrible thing. We the Sabahan particularly facing almost the same situations in Norway, the only difference is they, the illegal immigrant were given IC's for the sake of to maintain the Malay of East Malaysia political control on Sabah Nation. Slowly erode the original Malaysian Agreement. And they mostly give away citizenship towards the Muslim Tausug (Southern Philippines) and the Bugis Muslim of Indonesian in its mission to out-numbered the non-muslim Sabahan native that make-up the majority. In the 70's their is no qualm about any immigrant coming to Sabah or apply for citizenships. It all started when they abuse it by using it as some kind of "weapon" to keep their status quo. I' ve some Philippines friend also, who are Christians and Muslim…..It is easier for a Muslim Philippines to get a citizenship than non-Muslim Philippines. So, maybe in the future the Sabahan natives will end up like The Maoris in New Zealand….overwhelmed by the immigrant whites…At least maybe the whites give them some provisions and control to their cultural heritage…..Yup, like the Native American…..If your are still not sure about it, try apply for Malaysian Citizenship, if you're lucky enough you might get a permanent resident status….or end-up like V J Singh….

    1. Thats sooo different. You cant compare the migrants here in Sabah with the white people! The migrant have so much less than majority of Sabahans. The real culprit is who is giving out the ICs? Why are we more comfortable to blame people who are being used father than those who are using them? Easier to put the blame on weaker ones ? Scared if we get in trouble by putting the blame on the real culprits?

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