January 17, 2013
Royal Commission of Inquiry exposes Mahathir’s hand in the IC scam in Sabah
by Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle
PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali called on former Premier Mahathir Mohamad to own up and take responsibility for the the influx of illegal immigrants into Sabah, where Mahathir’s administration has been accused of “selling” citizenship to economic and social migrants mainly from the Philippines and Indonesia during the 1980s in exchange for them voting in UMNO-BN coalition during elections.
“The special operations was headed by Dr Mahathir and if you look at the testimony by the witnesses, they confirm that the officers and all those involved were directly under the PM’s office – the Home Affairs Ministry, the National Registration Department and the Immigration Department. All these agencies were under the leadership of Dr Mahathir and so Dr Mahathir must be responsible,” Azmin told a press conference on Thursday.
He was referring to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the issue, which has been a sore point with the Sabah people for decades. Not only have the influx of migrants presented a myriad of social and infrastructure problems, Sabahans believed their economic heritage has been threatened as well.
Plot to stymie PR’s advance in Sabah: Dr M should “forever shut up”
Azmin, who called on Mahathir to clear his name to the RCI, also revealed a plot to implicate Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim in the scandal.In the past year, Anwar and his Pakatan Rakyat coalition have scored several major breakthroughs in the Land Below Wind, with UMNO Supreme Council member Lajim Ukin, who is also the Beaufort MP, and Wilfrid Bumburing, the Tuaran MP and Deputy President of UPKO, quitting the BN and crossing over to the Opposition along with thousands of supporters.
“I also received information the ultimate goal will relate to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also. All the problems in this country is burdened on the de-facto leader and we also expect,” said Azmin.
Meanwhile DAP Adviser Lim Kit Siang told Mahathir to “forever shut up” if he is not prepared to volunteer to appear before the Sabah RCI to clear the allegations against him.
“Azmin has raised a very apt and pertinent question – was former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir guilty of treason in the “IC receipts-for-votes” and “citizenship-for-votes” scams in Project IC or Project M in Sabah in the nineties,” Kit Siang said in a statement issued later in the day.
Dr M’s confidantes included his Political Secretary Aziz Shamsuddin
Two of Mahathir’s closest confidantes – Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin, his Political Secretary at that time, and Megat Junid, the late former Deputy Home Affairs Minister – were implicated by witnesses who testified before the RCI a day ago.
“After receiving instructions from then-Sabah NRD chief Abdul Rauf Sani, we were ordered to go to KL and were placed at Pak Aziz Shamsuddin’s residence in Kampung Pandan,” Malaysiakini reported Yakup Damsah, who was the Tamparuli NRD chief at that time, as saying.
According to Yakup, they were tasked to sign the identity cards that were to be issued to the immigrants, which were subsequently laminated at the NRD headquarters in Petaling Jaya and shipped to the Kota Kinabalu NRD for distribution. “We were briefed about our special assignment by a person not known to us, named ‘Mat Nor’. He told us to issue blue identity cards to the immigrants,” Yakup added.
He told the RCI his group signed a total of 40,000 blue identity cards within a month, based on the filled up application forms provided to them. “We did not look at the forms in detail, we just signed… We know that they were immigrants, mostly Indonesians and Filipinos, but we did not know whether they were legal immigrants or not,” he said.
Yakup also said the intent of their action was to increase the number of Muslim voters in Sabah and to ensure that these people would vote for UMNO in the 1994 Sabah state election.
As for the late Megat Junid (above), former Sabah NRD Ramli Kamaruddin told the RCI he received personal instructions from the Deputy Home Affairs Minister to issue identity card receipts to immigrants using the details of people who were already in the electoral roll but had never voted before.
“I received a call two weeks before the 1994 Sabah state election to meet Megat Junid at a hotel. I was instructed to help to ensure that a state government endorsed by the Federal government would win. I was instructed to issue NRD receipts using the name and IC numbers of voters already in the electoral roll, with the sole purpose of allowing them to vote,” Ramli said.
NRD receipts are temporary identity card slips that are issued prior to the granting of a proper identity card. This document is sufficient to enable a person to vote, he explained.
The real traitors of Malaysia
“These are the real traitors of the country. People who sell citizenship for the sake of political power,” Azmin slammed Mahathir and UMNO.
Mahathir is expected to issue a response to the latest RCI testimony. He had previously denied any knowledge of the scam and had opined that the RCI would do no good when Najib finally bowed to pressure from Sabah parties to hold the inquiry.
However given the limited authority and terms of reference of the RCI, even if found guilty, the panel will not be able to charge or prosecute Mahathir or any other personality found guilty of perpetuating the scheme.
“The RCI will not deliver any result that will solve the problems. When there is a RCI it will bring about other matters,” Mahathir, who governed Malaysia from 1981 to 2003, had responded to news of the RCI’s revelation.
“Previously they have been coming and going. They are not alien to Sabah; they have been going back and forth between Sabah and the Philippines. Maybe they feel Sabah is safer and that is why they stay there.”