Opposition leaders across the peninsular are running riot over Project ‘IC’ where they claim the Barisan-led Government in the 80s and 90s has systematically provide a ‘back-door’ channel to granting foreigners Malaysian citizenship, particularly in East Malaysian state of Sabah, so as to increase its chances of maintaining its lead in the general elections.
Hmm… how about us? Set the mind thinking. 😉
Sunday March 17, 2013
Dr Mahathir: No directive to issue identity cards to unqualified migrants
PAPAR (SABAH): The government had never issued any directive to any quarters to issue identity cards (IC) or citizenship to unqualified immigrants in Sabah, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
As such, he said, Sabahans could not blame the government during his administration over cases of fraud committed by certain parties for self-interest.
“I am aware the issue (IC project) is getting the attention of the people. I have been told, there were those who were not qualified, having just arrived, who received IC.
“This is not our directive, not the government’s directive…this is fraud on the part of the officers in the area because of other interests,” he told reporters here on Saturday.
The former prime minister was asked to comment on the opposition campaign trend which was aggressively playing up the IC Project issue to garner the people’s support, in view of the coming general election.
He clarified that many people who were not from this country were made citizens because they had stayed in the country for a long time and had mastered the national language.
“Many of us are from other countries, for example from China, Arab (countries) and India. All of them have stayed here for a long time and are loyal to this country.
“We give them citizenship if they meet the necessary conditions,” he said.
In another development, Dr Mahathir, when asked if the government was capable of increasing the oil royalty to Sabah which currently stood at 5%, said the government’s practice was to share riches with all citizens of the country.
Prior to this, the opposition pact, in its 13th General Election manifesto, promised 20% oil royalty to the people of Sabah.
“If they (opposition) want to give (higher)…then, give 100% to Sabah,” said Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years since 1981 before stepping down in 2003.
On the setting up of the special security area, Eastern Sabah Security Command in Sabah, following the intrusion by foreign terrorists in Lahad Datu, Dr Mahathir said the move was apt and timely, seeing the significant security threat in the national waters. – Bernama (The Star Online – http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/3/17/nation/20130317102420&sec=nation)
UPDATED @ 05:52:56 PM
Ex-Sabah CM Harris denies ‘Project IC’
KOTA KINABALU, Jan 15 — Former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh denied today the existence of “Project IC”, where citizenship was allegedly given to immigrants for votes.
Harris, who administered Sabah from 1976 to 1985, stressed to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants here that he had no authority to give blue identity cards to immigrants.
“As far as I know, officially or unofficially, there’s no ‘Project IC’,” Harris told the RCI.
Asked why immigrants in Sabah seemed to be getting citizenship faster than other people, he said: “The final authority is not with the state government. It’s with the federal government. That question should be posed to the federal government.”
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the country’s longest-serving prime minister who ruled from 1981 to 2003, has been repeatedly accused of spearheading “Project IC”.
Harris also said that the Sabah state government had no authority to issue permanent residency to immigrants.
“Absolutely, the authority is with the federal government. The state government has no authority. We only assisted the individuals to fill the forms,” said the former Berjaya Party president.
Harris noted that former Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman had said in the 1970s that Muslim refugees could stay in Malaysia, while non-Muslims could go to Australia, Europe or the United States.
“Among the policies adopted by the federal government was to grant citizenships to refugees in accordance with the United Nations charter,” said Harris.
“Based on these policies and as claimed by YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former prime minister, it can be concluded that thousands of refugees and Indonesians were accorded citizenships in accordance with the Malaysian constitution,” added the sixth chief minister of Sabah.
Harris also said that the federal government had never informed his administration of the number of immigrants in Sabah that were given blue identity cards.
The greying former politician added that refugees were welcomed in the 1970s to accommodate the boom in the agricultural and construction industries in Sabah then.
“We were concerned if we don’t settle them, we can never improve Sabah…Filipinos are good construction workers,” he said.
Sabah has 926,638 registered voters, according to a June report in English-language daily, The Star.
The five-member panel inquiry, which is chaired by former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong, resumes tomorrow.- The Malaysian Insider (http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/litee/malaysia/article/ex-sabah-cm-harris-denies-project-ic/litee/malaysia/article/bn-will-field-tee-keat-as-direct-candidate)