January 18, 2013
RCI on Sabah IC Issue: It is all legal, says Mahathir
by Koh Jun Lin@http://www.malaysiakini.com
“Malaysia accepts foreigners to become citizens provided that they meet certain conditions. Many of them in Sabah were not there for a day or two, but 20 or 30 years and can speak Malay. They have the right to be citizens,” he said at a press conference today.
The long-serving premier was commenting on allegations of a citizenship-for-votes scheme in Sabah that supposedly occurred in the 1990′s, when he was Prime Minister.
Witnesses at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) investigating the matter had implicated Mahathir’s close associates in the operation; his Political Secretary Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin and then-Deputy Home Affairs Minister Megat Junid Megat Ayub (left).
However, Mahathir denied that the issuing of citizenship was meant to install a BN-friendly state government, as individual voters had the choice of who to vote for, and some supported the Opposition.
When it was pointed out that the operation took place just two weeks before the 1994 state election, Mahathir said: “Whether that is coincidental or deliberate, I wouldn’t know, but it is within the law.That it happened just before the election does not mean it is against the law.” He also claimed that the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, had done worse by giving citizenship to one million unqualified people in peninsula Malaysia, and lamented that no one had made it an issue.
Mahathir added he had yet to be subpoenaed to testify at the RCI, but is willing to do so if called.