The RCIIIS was a total cop-out on the fundamental question as to the number of illegal immigrants in Sabah in the electoral rolls
Sabahans and Malaysians have expected the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS) to at least answer some of the fundamental questions which have haunted Sabahans for four decades, for instance on the Project IC, the number of illegal immigrants in Sabah and the number of illegal immigrants on the Sabah electoral rolls.
However, the RCIIIS Report was a total cop-out as it has virtually left all the basic issues about nightmare of four decades of illegal immigrants open-ended, providing no satisfactory answers and indulging in irresponsible evasion tactics.
Despite spending 20 months from the establishment of the RCIIIS on Sept. 6, 2012 until the completion of its report and presentation to the Yang di Pertuan Agong on May 14, 2014, with public hearings involving 211 witnesses producing 5,000 pages of testimonies, public memoranda and 177 exhibits, the five-man RCIIIS failed in its most important tasks – to provide answers to the many nagging and bassic questions about the four-decade nightmre of illegal immigrants in Sabah.
I have already exposed the ongoing attempt to distort and further “white-wash” the RCIIIS Report on the issue Project IC.
Although the RCIIIS Report made it clear that “there is a possibility that such a Project did exist at all material times” (p. 300), both the Chief Secretary Tan Sri Hamsa Ali and the Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi tried to twist and distort its findings, with the former saying that the government was not involved in the Project IC (which was never the finding of the RCIIIS) and the latter going one step further denying that Project IC had ever existed
I will discuss the vexing subject of the number of illegal immigrants in Sabah tomorrow, focussing today on the basic question of the number of illegal immigrants in the Sabah electoral rolls
Again, the RCIIIS cannot come to any conclusive finding, only to say that there are illegal immigrants on the electoral rolls but it does not know the numbers or extent of the problem.
All that the RCIIIS Report could say on this issue was that “there is ample evidence to show that immigrants who were not Malaysian citizens, were issued blue ICs illegally by certain syndicates and/or individuals and who therefore registered themselves as voters in the electoral rolls on the basis of their ICs.” (p 306) and “In summary therefore, on the evidence as a whole, the answer to TOR (Terms of Reference) paragraph © is that there are non-citizens registered in the electoral rolls but their exact numbers are uncertain.” (p. 308)
It easy to understand the frustration and even exasperation of anyone reading these “non-answers” or “non-findings” with regard to basic questions about the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah – as it is open secret (which is confirmed by the RCIIIS) that illegal immigrants had been surreptiously inserted into the Sabah electoral rolls to allow them to exercise citizenship rights to vote. Nobody can blame the reader for feeling that the RCIIIS was not only an exercise of futility but a colossal waste of public funds, resources and time.
The only saving factor was that the RCIIIS Report produced loads of evidence about the 40-year nightmare of illegal immigrant problem in Sabah, but this was completely nullified when the RCIIIS Report was released with 5,000 missing pages of notes of evidence, public memorandum, statutory declarations and exhibits are being kept under lock-and-key and not released to the public!
Clearly there are more surprises and even scandals to be found in the 5,000 missing pages of the RCIIIS and this is why they are barred from public consumption.
In Malaysia, the normal procedure is for blue ICs to be issued to citizens, but Project IC or Project Mahathir turned the whole proess upside down, by issuing blue ICs before an illegal immigrant becomes a citizen, or in fact, to provide the illegal immigrant with the alleged documentation to acquire fake citizenship!
The RCIIIS had referred to three categories of illegal immigrants who had been issued with blue ICs although they were not citizens, viz:
“The evidence of Ruslan bin Alias (W9) and Dato’ Jariah (W208) indicates that there was a total of 113,850 ICs being considered as problematic. They had divided them into 2 groups: One group was known as P1 containing full records indicating that their ICs were issued on the basis of surat sumpah or statutory declarations certifying that the applicants were born in Sabah. There were 51,300 such ICs. The second group known as P2 were ICs which did not contain full records except photocopies. There was no information as to whether Surat Akuan or birth certificates were used to support the applications. Their numbers also overlapped. There was duplication in the records, etc. There were 62,550 recorded under this P2 group.
“Apparently, there was a third group of documents P3 was indicated in the evidence of Ramli bin Kamaruddin (W11), the ex-Director of NRD, Sabah. This group comprised of temporary receipts of ICs containing 7 digits. It is to be noted that he fell foul of the law in issuing such receipts when NRD commenced centralization of the issuance of ICs and also the replacement of blue ICs with Kad Pengenalan Bermutu Tinggi (KPT) or better known as “Kad Bunga Raya” containing 12 digits. NRD found no difficulty in cancelling those falling under group P3 which amounted to 16,699. Clearly, this group P3 was issued not in accordance with the law.
“As against the official figures given on groups P1, P2 and P3 above, we have the unofficial figures given by Tan Sri Bernard Dompok (w139), a former Federal Minister, that the figures for P1 was 177,785; for P2 it was about 62,546 and for P3 it was 16,695. He however could not verify these figures. Datuk Radin Maleh (W198), a State Minister of Rural Development, Sabah has given another set of figures. According to him, the figures for P1 group was 51,300 and for P2 it was 62,575.” (pp 303 – 305).
Although even going by the lowest estimates, the two groups of illegal immigrants issued with blue ICs, 51,300 in P1 and 62,500 in lP2, there had been no process to clean up the electoral rolls to remove these fake IC holders from the electoral roll as thd bulk of the P1 and P2 illegal immigrants with blue I/Cs are still Sabah voters on the rolls.
This is why the RCIIIS Report said:
“Based on their testimonies, it is quite obvious that these immigrants had not qualified as Malaysian citizens to be registered as voters. They had obtained their ICs based on false information. We understand that their names are still in the electoral rolls. If not rectified, this can have serious repercussions.” (p 307).
Two decades have since passed, and if we take into account all the illegal immigrants, including the older children without old IC numbers but in possession of dubious Bunga Raya ICs or MyKads, Dr Chong Eng Leong’s estimate is that there are now around 200,000 non-qualified voters in the current Sabah electoral rolls which have just over a million voters.
Dr. Chong, who was petitioner in the 1999 Likas election petition which led to the disqualification of SAPP President Yong Teck Lee as Likas State Assemblyman is Sabah’s home-grown authority on the problem of illegal immigrants, and has written a book specifically on the subject of Sabah’s illegal immigrants, “Lest We Forget”.
Sabahans and Malaysians must wonder what had been the use of the RCIIIS when it comes out with such a wishy-washy finding that it is likely that there are illegal immigrants on Sabah’s electoral roll, but it does not know how many, and makes no recommendation for the clean-up of the electoral roll to remove every voter who had been included in the electoral based on false and fraudulent I/Cs.
What is the Election Commission doing with regard to proactive action to rid the names of these non-citizens from the electoral rolls?
Even more important, has Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, as Chairman of the Working Committee of the RCIIIS Report, has the power to carry out a full clean-up of the electoral roll by recalling all identity cards in Sabah and the re-registration of all identity cards in Sabah?
It is time for Joseph Pairin Kitingan speak up to let Sabahans know what he proposes to do as Chairman of the RCIIIS Report Working Committee.