Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stop delaying action against Ibrahim Ali, says former A-G

Stop delaying action against Ibrahim Ali, says former A-G

January 31, 2013
Malaysian Insider
Abu Talib said there was no reason for the police to procrastinate deciding whether or not to prosecute Ibrahim. — Pictures by Saw Siow Feng
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — The authorities must speed up action against Datuk Ibrahim Ali over his Bible-burning threat, says retired Attorney-General Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, adding any further delay in acting against the veteran politician could be held against the establishment ahead of Election 2013. The vocal Ibrahim, who heads right-wing Malay group Perkasa, had sparked a firestorm last week when he reportedly called on Muslims to torch Malay-language copies of the Christian holy book that describes the Christian god as “Allah”, an Arabic word many Muslims here believe to be exclusive to their community.
“The issue is not the burning of the Bible. What is in the issue is, did he utter those words?” Abu Talib told The Malaysian Insider in an interview.
“If so, whether those words were seditious within the Sedition Act, reading it as a whole and in the context it was made. So, whether the Bible was burned is not material though helpful in the prosecution of the case if he is charged,” he said.
The government’s former top lawyer noted the police reports filed complaining about Ibrahim’s provocative remarks were related to the “Allah” dispute that has been simmering for the past four years.
He said there was no reason for the law enforcers to procrastinate deciding whether or not to prosecute the independent federal lawmaker who has been accused of inciting tension among Malaysia’s Muslim majority camp and followers of other faiths.
Abu Talib has been among others who have accused the A-G’s Chambers of practising selective prosecution.
“The police said they were recording statement from relevant witnesses. Surely they don’t require so much time to complete their investigations and make a decision if they are committed to a fair and impartial investigation. “In fairness to him, clear him fast if he has not acted contrary to the Sedition Act 1948 or for that matter, any law applicable,” said the 73-year-old, who served as A-G for 13 years from 1980 to 1993, referring to Ibrahim.
The Bar Council and opposition lawmaker Karpal Singh have urged the government to charge the Pasir Mas MP with sedition but the incumbent A-G Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has said action will only be taken against Ibrahim if bibles were burnt, and that the latter’s statement was not of grave concern.
Weighing in on the issue, Abu Talib said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had worked to dismantle archaic laws, namely the Internal Security Act (ISA) — which had been widely panned as a tool to suppress dissent — to bring the country’s justice system up to speed and in line with international human rights policies.
“Democracy, being government of, for and by the people, implies that it is the populace that is to be served and the elected is the servant, not the reverse,” said Abu Talib, who has chaired the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and the police force have taken a public beating in recent days with the Pakatan Rakyat federal opposition accusing the two public institutions of working with its political foe, Barisan Nasional, to keep the ruling coalition in power.
The AGC under Abdul Gani’s leadership has been hit with allegations of practising selective prosecution, including from Abu Talib and other retired civil servants such as former Kuala Lumpur criminal investigation police chief Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim.
Democracy, being government of, for and by the people, implies that it is the populace that is to be served and the elected is the servant, not the reverse. — Abu Talib
A recent survey of five public institutions by the Merdeka Center found the police force bottoming out among Election 2013 first-time voters compared to both federal and state governments, the judiciary, the election regulator and political parties.
Politicians and local clergymen had lashed out at Ibrahim, the Perkasa founder and president, for allegedly stoking religious hatred and driving a deeper wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Muslims are Malaysia’s biggest religious group at 60 per cent, while the minority Christians, who form just under 10 per cent of the 28 million population, have been at the forefront of issues confronting the non-Muslim community, which are provided for under the country’s constitution.
The Malaysian Islamic Development Department also upset church leaders with its sermon last Friday, in which it warned Muslims nationwide of “enemies of Islam” that would try to confuse them into believing that all religions share the same god.
Muslim and Christian leaders here have been at loggerheads over use of the Arabic word “Allah” despite a 2009 High Court judgment that ruled Muslims did not have an exclusive right to the word “Allah”.
Debate resurfaced last month after DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is also the Penang chief minister, called on Putrajaya to lift a ban on Malay-language bibles in Sabah and Sarawak, where the “Allah” word had been in use for centuries.
A Sabah church group has also alleged that the religious freedom of Christian Bumiputeras was under attack, pointing out that most adherents of the faith in Malaysia came from east Malaysia and used the Malay language.
A Buddhist group has urged the National Unity and Integration Department, which is under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department, to resolve the drawn-out dispute over the usage of “Allah”.

Go for Change!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Once a pushover, Pakatan sniffs power | Free Malaysia Today

Once a pushover, Pakatan sniffs power

January 30, 2013
Speculation is rife that Pakatan could win enough in the polls to lure ruling coalition defectors and form a government.
By Dan Martin
KUALA LUMPUR: After bloodying the government’s nose in 2008 elections, a more experienced and organised Malaysian opposition is eyeing the once-unthinkable: toppling one of the world’s longest-serving governments.

Malaysians vote soon with the formerly hapless opposition buoyed by a new track record of state-level government, signs of growing voter support, and what its leader Anwar Ibrahim calls a sense of history in the making.

“I am convinced, Inshallah (God willing), that we will win government,” Anwar told AFP, evoking the winds of change that powered the “Arab Spring” elsewhere in the Muslim world.

“Of course we call it a ‘Malaysian Spring’, but our method is elections (not uprisings).”

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is expected to call a fresh vote in weeks, pitting his Malay-dominated Barisan Nasional coalition against Anwar’s multi-ethnic opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat.

The 57-year-old ruling bloc enjoys deep pockets, mainstream media control, an electoral system the opposition says is rigged, and a record of decades of economic growth under its authoritarian template.
Few expect the opposition to win the 112 parliamentary seats needed to take power. The three-party alliance won 82 seats in the 2008 polls, up from 21, stunning the BN with its biggest-ever setback.
But speculation is rife that Pakatan could win enough in the polls — which must be held by late June — to lure ruling coalition defectors and form a government.

“Before this year, many were in denial about Pakatan’s potential. Today, we see society beginning to accept that the possibility (of a BN defeat) is real,” said Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who runs the independent Malaysian think tank IDEAS.

The country’s stock market has trembled recently over the uncertainty as opinion polls suggest the vote will be tight. One recent survey put Najib and Anwar neck-and-neck as prime ministerial candidates.
In a Jan 12 show of force, the opposition held a rally that drew clsoe to 100,000 people.

“I think it’s very close, and the party that makes the least mistakes will be the party that wins,” said S Ambiga, , head of Bersih, an NGO coalition that has organised large public rallies for electoral reform.

Pakatan’s promise

Pakatan attacks the ruling coalition, and particularly its dominant partner Umno, as corrupt, repressive and lacking a long-term vision for Malaysia.

Anwar says Pakatan would end authoritarianism and free the media.

It would lure foreign investment by attacking rampant graft and reforming the system of preferences for Malays that is blamed for harming national econonomic competitiveness and stoking resentment among minority Chinese and Indians.

“The people are committed to reform. There is a legitimate expectation among the public for them to see that reforms do take place,” Anwar said.

Anwar, who was acquitted a year ago on sodomy charges he called a bogus Umno attempt to ruin him politically, has been integral to the opposition’s revival.

The former BN heir-apparent’s spectacular 1998 ouster in a power struggle with then-premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad gifted the opposition a charismatic leader with top government experience to rally around.

The loose alliance of 2008 is stronger today, having since agreed on a common manifesto, and has shown it can govern in four states won five years ago, the most ever in opposition hands. Malaysia has 13 states.
“Cooperation between the parties is much stronger than 2008. They have done more to prepare the ground for new voters,” said leading political pollster Ibrahim Suffian.

Concerns linger over Pakatan’s ability to govern nationally.

Besides Anwar’s multi-racial PKR, it includes PAS representing Muslim ethnic Malays, and the secular DAP dominated by ethnic Chinese.

PAS’s calls for an Islamic state are a source of alliance squabbling, but Anwar dismisses any concern, saying PAS realises the goal is a non-starter in the diverse nation.

Economists, meanwhile, warn that populist Pakatan promises such as free primary-to-university education could sink Malaysia into debt, while noting ever-larger public handouts by Najib’s government also posed a risk.

Najib took office in 2009 and has portrayed himself as a reformer but surveys suggest BN is still viewed as a corruption-plagued, status-quo force.

Eroding minority support, particularly Chinese, that hurt the coalition in 2008 appears to be accelerating, independent polls show, while first-time voters estimated to number up to three million are a question mark.
One top Umno official told AFP that party officials fear the coalition could lose 20 more seats — it now has 140 — raising the spectre of a Pakatan power play.

“All said, Najib still has the advantage, but an opposition victory is clearly possible,” said Bridget Welsh, a Southeast Asian politics expert at Singapore Management University.

AFP

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

NRD man got RM1m for letting immigrants vote, RCI told

NRD man got RM1m for letting immigrants vote, RCI told

UPDATED @ 05:22:44 PM 29-01-2013
January 29, 2013
Malaysian Insider 
 
Sea gypsy boys in Sabah peddle their boat through their neighbourhood in Sulawesi Sea. The Sabah RCI was told that a former NRD director got RM1 million via the sale of 16,000 NRD receipts that enabled immigrants in Sabah to vote. – Reuters pic
KOTA KINABALU, Jan 29 – A then-Sabah National Registration Department (NRD) director sold 16,000 NRD receipts for more than RM1million that enabled immigrants in Sabah to vote, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants heard today.
 Special Branch (SB) officer DSP Badaruddin Ismail, who works in Kelantan, testified today that Ramli Kamarudin sold each receipt for RM250 between 1993 and 1995 to illegal immigrants from the Philippines, India, Pakistan and other countries.
“He (Ramli) said he just did it for the money,” Badaruddin told the RCI here today.

Badaruddin, who had interrogated Ramli, stressed that Ramli said he had done so on his own accord for personal gain without instructions from higher authorities.

Ramli, however, told the RCI recently that then-Deputy Home Minister, the late Tan Sri Megat Junid Megat Ayub, had ordered him to issue NRD receipts, which matched the names and IC numbers of registered voters, to immigrants.

Ramli has said that about 200 NRD receipts were issued in five or six state constituencies, which the government considered difficult to win, before the 1994 state election.
The 1994 state election saw Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) winning just 25 out of 48 state assembly seats.
But several PBS MPs defected to Barisan Nasional (BN) shortly after, causing the collapse of the PBS government.

Ramli said that he had used some of the RM1million for personal matters and distributed the rest to his officers and to organise a sports festival in Penang for his subordinates, according to Badaruddin.
The SB officer added that Ramli distributed 14,000 NRD receipts among the latter’s subordinates to be issued to immigrants, while 2,000 receipts were personally issued by Ramli to certain people.

Another then-Sabah NRD director called Datuk Abdul Rauf Sani had sold 6,305 identity cards to Filipino and Indonesian immigrants, as well as locals, for RM167,300, Sarawak SB chief Datuk Haji Ibrahim Zakaria told the RCI earlier today.

Ibrahim added that 94 people, including 24 NRD officials, were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) from 1994 to 2000 for issuing identity cards in Sabah illegally.
“No, he (Rauf) did not say that he acted upon instructions, but he acted on his own,” said Ibrahim.
“From the intelligence I gathered, it is more for gaining rewards, profit,” added Ibrahim, who was wearing a black suit and red tie.

Asked if Ibrahim believed that Rauf was acting on his own, Ibrahim said: “He’s an intelligent person, educated overseas, very communicative, a certain level of position in government service. I took what he said as the truth.”

Rauf, however, told the RCI recently that blue identity cards were also issued to increase the number of Muslim voters in Sabah.

He has said he was aware that immigrants in Sabah were taught how to vote in elections, otherwise their identity cards would be cancelled.

Former Sabah NRD assistant registrar Kee Dzulkifly Kee Abd Jalil testified recently that 100,000 blue identity cards were given to Filipino, Indonesian and Pakistani immigrants in Sabah in 1993.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister who was in power from 1981 to 2003, has been accused of spearheading the so-called “Project IC”, in which citizenships were allegedly given to immigrants for their votes.

But former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh, who administered the state from 1976 to 1985, has denied at the RCI the existence of “Project IC”.

Dr Mahathir told a recent press conference that foreigners in Sabah had indeed received citizenship, but stressed that it was “within the law”.

The inquiry before former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong resumes tomorrow.

NRD made Indian national a citizen using false SD

NRD made Indian national a citizen using false SD
 
An Indian national obtained Malaysian citizenship from the Sabah National Registration Department (NRD) by simply using a false statutory declaration, the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into Sabah immigrants was told today.

Nur Mohd Ibrahim, who hails from Tamil Nadu, India, said he entered Sabah in 1981 and soon after applied for a blue identity card on the urging of Filipino colleagues at a restaurant where he worked.

However, his first application using a false SD was rejected.

In 1983, he tried his luck again, using the same method, and was granted a blue identity card in 1987. This was merely six years after he had set foot on Malaysian soil.

The SD stated that Nur Mohd was born in Kinarut, Papar.

Nur Mohd told the RCI that he registered as a voter in 1991 - eight years after he became citizen. According to him, he has voted four times in the state seat of Likas.

NONEIn 2001, the Election Court had ruled that former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee's (left) victory in Likas null and void due to the prevalence of illegal immigrants on the electoral roll.

Yong had won the seat at the Sabah 1999 state election and the results was challenged by two defeated candidates.

Then High Court judge Muhammad Kamil Awang, who revealed he was pressured by his superiors to dismiss the application, said in his judgment: "The instances of non-citizens and phantom voters in the electoral roll as disclosed in this trial may be the tip of the iceberg.

"It could not be denied that the registration of voters in the Likas electoral roll was in contravention of the law. No one including the government department is above the law."

‘Sabah chief minister is ... Mahathir’

Nur Mohd said the SD he used had been drafted by a commissioner of oaths in Kepayan and his Filipino friends taught him to list a place in Sabah as a his birth place.

"Even though I got my blue identity card, I was scared to use it because I was not sure if it was valid or not until I registered as a voter in 1991," he said.

Queried by conducting officer Jamil Aripin if he knew this was tantamount to cheating the NRD, Nur Mohd remained silent.

He then proceeded to test the witness' knowledge of Malaysia, and Nur Mohd managed to name the three most recent prime ministers without trouble.

NONEHowever, when asked who the chief minister of Sabah is, he replied: "Mahathir" before withdrawing his statement as he invited giggles around the room.

It is unclear if Nur Mohd's identity card was part of any illegal operation but the NRD rules were relaxed in the 1980s to accept SDs as identification documents in applications for blue identity cards.

This rule was abolished in 1987, and since then, only birth certificates have been accepted.

Pakistani gets countryman blue IC in 20 days

Pakistani gets countryman blue IC in 20 days
 
Soon after 54-year-old Pakistani national Prabesh Khan Hussein Khan arrived in Sabah in 1992, he was told that Pakistani, Indian, Indonesian and Filipino nationals can get Malaysian citizenship easily.

A Pakistani comrade by the name of Ikram told Prabesh that he (Ikram) could make this possible for a mere RM330, Prabesh told the royal commission of inquiry on Sabah immigrants today.

Prabesh then filled up a yellow National Registration Department form, placed his thumb print on the document and submitted it to Ikram together with eight photographs.

NONE"Is it true that in 20 days Ikram returned and gave you an identity card with the name 'Mohd Sharif Sakar' ?" RCI conducting officer Jamil Aripin asked the witness at the Kota Kinabalu court complex.

Prabesh said 'yes', and added that the date of issue of the identity card was backdated to Nov 16, 1985.

The photograph on the IC was that of his, he added.

"I wanted to use my own name, but Ikram said this could not be done. I didn't choose my birth place either... he listed it for me as 'Tawau'," Prabesh said.

He then went to vote in the 1999 Sabah state election, in the constituency of Likas, but was not allowed to.

"I didn't know that I needed to register first," he said.

In a limbo now

In 2011, Prabesh said, he tried to change his identity card to a new one, but his IC was confiscated by the NRD.

Asked if he knew of a syndicate selling identity cards and that he may have fallen victim to it, he replied: "I don't know".

However, Prabesh said, he was now in limbo, since the confiscation of his IC.

The witness said he had started a new life in the state, marrying a Sabahan in 2002 and they now have two children.

"I just want my identity card back. If it is not valid, then at least make me a permanent resident," Prabesh added.

A total of nine witnesses testified today, with one being recalled to testify again today. To date a total of 37 witnesses have testified before the RCI.

Monday, January 28, 2013

8 things to know about the Sabah RCI

8 things to know about the Sabah RCI
8:25AM Jan 28, 2013  
Some call it Project IC, some call it Project M, whatever the name, here is what we have learnt from the royal commission of inquiry on immigrants in Sabah, in particular, the covert operations that allowed foreigners to vote in the bid to topple the PBS-led Sabah government.

1. There were at least two such black operations

G17 (or Group of 17)

Ring leader: Former Sabah National Registration Department (NRD) chief Abdul Rauf Sani (1990-1992)

Known figures involved: NRD officers Kee Dzulkifly Kee Abdul Jalil, Yakup Damsah, Asli Sidup

Political figures implicated: Then premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad's political secretary Aziz Shamsuddin

Time period: 1990 onwards

Modus operandi

Sabah NRD officers were flown to Sabah to process some 40,000 to 100,000 blue identity cards for immigrants. This was necessary as at that time, the identity cards' details and signature were done by hand.

After the details had been written on the cards as per the application forms furnished to the officers, they were dispatched to the then NRD headquarters in Petaling Jaya to be laminated before being returned to Kota Kinabalu.

The officers testified that they did not question the application forms or their origin, but merely filled them up for the blue identity cards as they were.

NONEThey claimed to have operated from Aziz Shamsudin's house in Kampung Pandan. Asli Sidup described being flown in to Kuala Lumpur for this as an "unusual practice".

Another officer, Kee Dzulkifly Kee Abdul Jalil - who had described the operation as 'G17' and locally based in the Sabah NRD headquarters in Kota Kinabalu - said they also issued some 200,000 birth certificates to immigrants.

This document is important for future application of blue identity cards. The operation was tagged G17 as it consisted of 17 members.

Head of operations Abdul Rauf Sani had confirmed the testimonies, but denied the use of the 'G17' name. He claimed to have acted alone.

All known personalities involved were eventually detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for at least two years.

The only exception was Abdul Rauf, who was detained under ISA for two months, followed by five months of restricted residence.

He is now the chief executive officer of the Totalisator Board of Malaysia under the Finance Ministry.

Ops Durian Buruk

Ring leader: Former Sabah NRD chief Ramli Kamarudin (1993-1995)

Known figures involved: Former Sabah NRD deputy chief Mohd Nasir Sugip, NRD officer Asli Sidup (also involved in G17), former Sabah Election Commission (EC) chief Wan Ahmad Wan Yusof

Political figures implicated: Former Sabah chief minister Osu Sukam, former deputy home minister Megat Junid Megat Ayub

Time period: Late 1993 onwards

Modus operandi

According to RCI testimonies, the Sabah EC furnished the state NRD with legitimate voter information, including names and identity card numbers of registered voters who had never voted before or are dead.

The NRD then issues an identity card receipt to immigrants using this information.

NONEAccording to electoral rules, this receipt, an interim document given prior to the issuance of an actual blue identity card, is sufficient to allow a person to vote, and in this case, for immigrants to vote.

These ‘phantom voters' are then planted into marginal constituencies deemed as black zones for the BN, according to witness testimonies.

Chief of operations Ramli Kamarudin said he executed this project after personally receiving instructions at a meeting with former deputy home minister, the late Megat Junid Megat Ayub, at the Hyatt Hotel, Kota Kinabalu.

Also present at the meeting were NRD officer Asli Sidup and Osu Sukam, who went on to become Sabah chief minister in 1999.

2. Illegal granting of citizenship began as early as 1988

Even though two operations in the 1990s have been mentioned to have taken place during the course of the RCI hearing, witnesses who were beneficiaries of such citizenship-for-votes operations indicate that they began in the late 1980s.

One such case was that of Mohamed Hussein, a Pakistani citizen who arrived in Sabah in 1987 and offered a blue identity card the following year.

3. Highly motivated to vote

Almost all the immigrants-turned-citizens testified they registered as voters immediately after receiving their blue identity cards.

Puzzled at their unrivaled urge to vote even compared to natural citizens, civil society lawyers holding a watching brief at the RCI had grilled the witnesses, but all of them claim to have done so of their own volition.

They claimed to have personally gone to the state EC to register as voters.

4. National Security Council's fingerprints all over


The prime movers of at least two known operations, namely G17 and Ops Durian Buruk were formerly officers of the National Security Council (NSC) under the Prime Minister's Department.

Abdul Rauf Sani was transferred from the NSC in 1990 to helm Sabah NRD, the same time when G17 started.

In 1992, he returned to the NSC to work with its intelligence division.

Abdul Rauf's successor, Ramli Kamarudin, too, was transferred from the NSC in 1993 to head the Sabah NRD and shortly before Ops Durian Burok began.

Ramli said he was "ordered" to go to Sabah to help support the creation of a state government that would be "favourable to Islam".

5. Kemas and unnamed political party also implicated

Aside from the NRD and Sabah EC that were implicated, the federal government's Community Development Department (Kemas) was also fingered during the RCI.

NRD officer Asli Sidup, who was involved in both operations, had said that aside from Sabah EC, Kemas and an unnamed political party were responsible for furnishing NRD with names of registered voters who had never voted for the issuance of blue identity card receipts to immigrants under Ops Durian Buruk.

6. RCI isn't particularly interested on who gave the orders

The three RCI conducting officers are Manoj Kurup, Azmi Ariffin and Jamil Aripin who are tasked to question witnesses during the hearing.

Ten police officers and members of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) had also been appointed for the RCI's investigation - the same people who had interviewed the witnesses before taking the stand.

population boom in sabah 061008Based on what the witnesses had testified and their statements from the interview to date, the investigation appears to be fairly independent but it is unclear if key parts of the 'Project IC' will come to light, particularly on who gave the orders as it is not part of the RCI terms of reference.

Therefore, the conducting officers did not pursue this line of questioning.

An example was when Abdul Rauf Sani was quizzed about G17, the conducting officer Azmi Ariffin had only sought to confirm that they had operated at the residence of Mahathir's political secretary Aziz Shamsuddin but did not go beyond this.

In contrast, watching brief lawyer James Sikayun had grilled Abdul Rauf on why he was at Aziz's residence and whether he had receive instructions from higher ups, but answers were not forthcoming.

Civil society lawyers holding a watching brief are allowed to question the witnesses and they will likely play a role in pushing the limits of the RCI's terms of reference for more information.

The RCI is confined by eight terms of reference:

1) To determine number of immigrants granted blue identity cards;

2) To determine number of immigrants granted blue identity card due to statelessness;

3) To investigate whether this was done legally;

4) To investigate if immigrants holding blue identity cards were illegally registered in the electoral roll;

5) To investigate the standard operating procedures (SOP) for issuance of blue identity card and recommend improvements;

6) To probe if the authorities had taken action or done improvements to the SOP to prevent infringement of the law;

7) To investigate reason behind the increase in Sabah's population and their impact on the electoral roll; and,

8) To investigate the social implications of granting citizenship to immigrants in the state.

7. Conducting officers aren't fans of the media

Often times witnesses are questioned based solely on their statements given during their interview prior to taking the stand.

They are asked to agree or disagree as the statement is read out which could contain names implicated by witnesses or several set of figures.

However, unlike previous royal commissions of inquiry such as the one on Teoh Beng Hock's death, conducting officers are much less forthcoming in providing information and clarification.

8. Context matters

The Project IC apparently began following a political shift in Sabah in which Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) swept to power in 1985, ousting the BN for the very first time.

However, PBS joined BN a year later after riots broke out in relation to the election results which destabilised the state government.

During this period, according to testimonies, there appear to be some cases of immigrants being illegally granted citizenship.

However, this operation went into full swing - in the form of G17 and Ops Durian Buruk - after PBS left the BN in 1990, days before the state election.

bn supreme council mt meeting sapp sabah issue 190608 pairin kitinganIn that election, PBS won 36 out of 48 seats in the state assembly. PBS then led by Joseph Pairin Kittingan, was perceived to be a Christian party.

By the 1994 state election held on Feb 18 and 19, the PBS majority was slashed to two - it had 25 seats against BN's 23.

Despite the victory, Joseph Pairin had to wait outside the state palace for some 36 hours before finally being sworn in by the governor.

The delay was supposedly due to manoeuvring to oust the now fragile incumbent through defections, in which then deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim played a key role.

Nevertheless, the PBS government lasted another two weeks before collapsing as a majority of its elected representatives defected to BN.

The defectors included Bernard Dompok, Lajim Ukin, and the chief minister's own brother, Jeffrey Pairin Kittingan.

With the mass defections, the PBS was left with only three elected representatives, namely Joseph Pairin, Maximus Ongkili and Amir Kahar Mustapha.

Joseph Pairin attempted to dissolve the state assembly, but this was denied by the governor. He eventually tendered his resignation as chief minister on March 24, 1994.

RCI resumes tomorrow

The RCI will reconvene its public hearing in Kota Kinabalu tomorrow until Friday, with a third session scheduled for Feb 22 to 27.

NONEA total of 29 witnesses had testified in the first five-day session which concluded on Jan 18. The RCI had officially announced that a total of 48 witnesses would be called.

However, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had revealed that there would be a total of 167 witnesses.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nik Aziz celebrates birthday at Karpal's house

Nik Aziz celebrates birthday at Karpal's house
 
PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat decided to celebrate his 82nd birthday by paying DAP chairperson Karpal Singh a visit in Penang.
Although the duo often cross swords over the PAS' Islamic state ambitions, they were all smiles today.
nik aziz penang karpal birthday 270113Nik Aziz was also presented a birthday cake, during the 20-minute event attended by a large number of Penang Pakatan Rakyat leaders.
Getting to Karpal's house was no simple feat for Nik Aziz, whose driver had to gingerly inch his way towards the Jalan Scotland abode, which is hosting Thaipusam celebrations.
An elated Karpal told Malaysiakini that Nik Aziz arrived 30 minutes ahead of time.
"I was still bathing but rushed down to meet him. He was fit and jovial. I am really happy to see him.

"His presence sends a strong message that our unity is as strong as ever, despite all that happened," he stressed.

"We understand each other well and we accept our differences."
Long time comrades
Karpal, the Bukit Gelugor MP, remembers Nik Aziz fondly as the MP who sat beside him in Parliament in 1978.

"We go a long way. His visit here goes beyond just visiting me during Thaipusam," said Karpal.

"It was a good gesture by Nik Aziz. He expressed his desire to see me through Penang PKR Batu Uban assemblyman and state vice-chief S Raveentharan and I agreed," he added.

NONEThe visit comes after a series of rallies supposedly held by Penang PAS members against Karpal for purportedly interfering in the statement by the PAS syura council that non-Muslims should not use the word 'Allah' in their scriptures.

PAS has denied organising the rallies, saying it was probably held by a "small group of disgruntled members".

Conflict over the word ‘Allah’ reignited following Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's Christmas message urging the federal government to its use in Malay bibles in Sabah and Sarawak as had been done since historical times.

Lim’s call is consistent with the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruling in 2010 over the matter, that is now pending an appeal from the government.

His message created a storm among his opponents, with Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali in his latest move calling for the Malay and Jawi bibles be burned as a warning those whom the latter claimed were purportedly going against the federal constitution.

Pakatan holds fast while others waver on 'Allah'

Pakatan holds fast while others waver on 'Allah'
 
COMMENT Amid the cacophony that followed hard upon Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali's call to Muslims to burn Bibles that use the ‘Allah' term for God, one was hard put to find a reaction and a reminder more bracing than what emerged from the Penang state minister for religion.

NONEAbdul Malik Abul Kassim, the PKR state assemblyperson who has been holding the sensitive religious portfolio in the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat state government since 2008, was quoted earlier this week as saying:

"We are told not to kick, throw or burn any holy book. Those who want to do these acts are discrediting Islam in the eyes of the world."

Nothing very profound about this reminder by a politician of quietly effective and often under appreciated capability, but still, putting it alongside the screeching of other respondents to the controversy, Malik's counsel is one of irenic content and bracing effect.

It puts you in mind of some lines from ‘If', Rudyard Kipling's famous poem: "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs ..."

Introspection is not exactly a strong suit of believers, which makes Malik Kassim's impulse to look within his religion before declaiming on what would be appropriate or unbecoming conduct commendable indeed.

To be sure, Malik's was not uncommon or exceptional deportment on the controversial topic of the use of ‘Allah' in Malay-language bibles.

Generally, the PKR national leadership cohort have held to the middle octaves in the cacophony that arose after Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in his Christmas Day message called on the federal government to allow the use of the term ‘Allah' in Malay-language bibles in Malaysian Borneo.

They pushed for a revisit of the Pakatan consensus on the issue, enunciated in January 2010, which resolved that the term was not exclusive to Muslims.

NONEThis was a courageous position to take in the teeth of arson attacks on churches and incidents of desecration of mosques that occurred in the month of January in 2010, following a High Court decision that allowed the Catholic Church's weekly publication, Herald, to use the term in its Bahasa Malaysia edition.

PKR adviser and Pakatan supremo Anwar Ibrahim hosted a series of learned discussions on the issue before steering the opposition coalition to a consensus on the issue.

This decision dovetailed nicely with the reigning consensus in Arab and other Muslim-majority countries where the term is not regarded as exclusive to the Islamic religion.

Consensus breaks down


However, this consensus broke down last month in the wake of Lim's call for ‘Allah' to be allowed in Malay-language bibles that Christians use as their scriptural texts in Sabah and Sarawak.

Pakatan component, PAS, publicly demurred with Lim and this led to a fraying of the consensus before an uneasy armistice prevailed which saw PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang declaring, in an agreement worked out under Pakatan's auspices that, to wit, the term was not exclusive to Muslims but that non-Muslims must be careful not to abuse its usage.

The theologians in his party, however, disagreed: the PAS syura council, the highest policy-making body in the party, deemed the term permissible for use by non-Muslims only when employed in reference to a 'Supreme Being'.

Subtle nuances tend to be squashed in the heat of partisan volleys. And when the philistines wade in, as Ibrahim Ali of Malay right-wing group Perkasa did, the tensions were inevitably heightened.

But through it all, there was no wavering on the part of corporate Pakatan. The coalition reiterated the consensus they reached three years ago while taking note of the seeming dissent voiced by PAS' theologians.

Agreeing to disagree without schismatic tendencies has become an accepted rule of engagement within the coalition.

NONEIt would have helped if Anwar had come out a little sooner with his condemnation of Ibrahim's bible-burning threat.

However, his reiteration of an assurance he gave three years ago when the ‘Allah' issue first flared in the national arena, was noteworthy: he said Pakatan would protect the sanctity of all religions in this country.

That reiteration and Malik Kassim's emphasis on what he said was requisite behaviour of Muslims towards the sacred books of other believers are reflections of a way of looking at the diversity of religious beliefs that conduces to peaceful resolution of conflict rather than its heightening.

TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for close on four decades. He likes the occupation because it puts him in contact with the eminent without being under the necessity to admire them.

There can only be A Better Malaysia for All with a new Putrajaya government. Vote Pakatan Rakyat. Vote for Total Change at the next general election.



Speech By M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat at DAP Ipoh Barat Thaipusam  Thaneer Panthal  on Sunday, January 27, 2013

A few days ago. The Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Si Abdul Khalid Ibrahim announced that the state government has decided to cancel the construction of a condominium building near Batu Caves.

Arrival of Sdr Lim Kit Siang
He said the decision was made for the people’s safety and to protect the environment. He also said that state government does not compromise with any development project that threatens the safety of the people.

Tan Sri Khalid’s announcement is most welcomed and it was certainly a correct decision.

His announcement has once again proven that Pakatan Rakyat is a coalition that the people can count on.
Recently, the Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib told the people that if Barisan Nasional wins power in Selangor in the next general election, BN government will can cancel the condo project.

PR leaders present
Let me remind Najib not to forget that it was the BN councilors who approve the project before Pakatan Rakyat formed the state government in Selangor.

Hence, the first two things which he should have done were, firstly, to tender a public apology for BN’s unacceptable decision to approve the project and secondly to take disciplinary actions against the councilors concerned.

But Najib has failed to do these two. Things. His promise to cancel the project lacks sincerity.

I have no doubt whatsoever that if Pakatan Rakyat did not win power in Selangor in the 2008 general election, Selangor government would definitely give the green light to continue with the project.

This shows that the Selangor voters, especially the Indians, made the right decision to boot out the Khir Toyo state government.

Thaipusam is the festival that signifies light over darkness and victory of good over evil.

Malaysia is a very blessed country with great people. But decades of BN rule has brought too much political darkness.

Sdr Lim speaks
So come the next general election, Malaysians especially the Indians must ensure there will be a greater political tsunami to boot out the BN federal government and to bring light to this great nation.

There can only be A Better Malaysia for All with a new Putrajaya government. Vote Pakatan Rakyat. Vote for Total Change at the next general election.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

PAS: Friday sermon an attempt to spread religious hatred

PAS: Friday sermon an attempt to spread religious hatred

January 26, 2013
Malaysian Insider 
Khalid said Jakim’s move was an attempt to incite the sentiment of hatred towards the Christians. – File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 - Several PAS leaders have blasted Malaysia’s Islamic authorities for allegedly stoking religious hatred during yesterday’s Friday prayers for Muslim by calling labeling those who insist on using “Allah” to describe their God as “enemies of Islam”.
According to the few leaders contacted by The Malaysian Insider, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), which had prepared the sermon, had failed to portray Islam as a religion od peace and understanding, and had instead shown intolerance.
“Jakim’s move was an attempt to incite the sentiment of hatred towards the Christians.
“This attitude is inappropriate and irresponsible,” Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said.
In Jakim’s Friday sermon yesterday, the religious authority had warned Muslims nationwide of attempts by “enemies of Islam” to confuse them into believing that all religions are the same.
Muslims here were also told that being too open-minded and allowing Islamic rights to be abused by other religions was a “dangerous” act.
“It is very clear that today, enemies of Islam are seeking to divert and undermine the Muslim community’s faith.
“They are united among themselves and are attempting, with their many tricks and ways, to stake their claim on the usage of ‘Allah’ in their scriptures,” the sermon said.
Jakim insisted that “Allah”, a word that millions of Arab Christians and those in non-Arabic-speaking lands use to describe their God, belongs to Muslims and is an exclusive right to those who profess Islam as it is clearly to prevent Muslims from becoming confused, doubtful and mistaken over the true identity of the Muslim God.
Citing an unnamed academic research, Jakim said that the word “Allah” was never found in the Bible as God, to these users of the holy book, exists in the Trinity concept as “God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
The general term for the Holy Trinity, said the religious department, is “The Lord”.
As such, Jakim insisted that the National Fatwa Council’s 2008 decision on the matter was accurate in stating that “Allah” cannot be used by those of other religions and cannot be likened to the Gods of others.
The authority also warned that painful punishment would await disbelievers in the afterlife, noting that these “symptoms” if Islam’s collapse would only destroy the glory and prestige of Muslims here.
But Khalid said Jakim had not furnished proof to back its claims and was merely pointing fingers to drive a deeper wedge between the country’s Muslims and Christians.
“But why speak ill of the Christians, not all of them are bad. In fact, Islam is no advocate of this prejudiced behaviour to those of other faiths,” he added.
Instead, the lawmaker accused Jakim of being the reason why some Muslims are confused over their religious beliefs, arguing that the authority had failed to strengthen the faith of Muslims here.
He said if Jakim believed that the faith of Muslim here has weakened, it should have used the sermon to differentiate between Islamic and Christian teachings, instead of condemning followers of the latter faith.
PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub agreed with his party colleague’s views, adding that JAKIM had become Barisan Nasional’s (BN) tool to flare hatred at a time when religions tension was already at a high.
“I’d like to ask, what is Jakim’s role and responsibility when preaching to Muslims?
“Jakim has become BN’s tool... in fact, they had also twisted he statement made by the PAS Syura Council earlier this month,” he added.
The Kubang Kerian MP agreed with Khalid that Jakim should have sought to resolve the polemic over the usage of “Allah” by explaining to the non-Muslims the importance of the word.
He said that instead, Jakim had chosen to spread a sense of uneasiness and hatred between both sides, even giving a false impression of Islam to the non-Muslims.
PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali, when contacted by The Malaysian Insider, refused to comment on the issue as he said he had not personally heard the sermon.
“No comment, I did not hear the sermon” he told this news portal in an SMS statement.
The “Allah” dispute, which first erupted after the watershed 2008 Elections, remains a hot-button topic in the run-up to this year’s polls.
Debate resurfaced last month after DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is also the Penang Chief Minister, called on Putrajaya in his Christmas message to lift a ban on Malay-language bibles in Borneo Malaysia.
Hot on the heels of the DAP leader’s remarks, several state Rulers and Islamic religious authorities reminded non-Muslims of state laws banning use of the word, despite conflicting with a 2009 High Court judgment that ruled “Allah” was not exclusive to Islam.
In his defence of the issue, ulama Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said in a recent lecture that Muslims who dispute the use of “Allah” by non-Muslims are those confused about their own faith.
In a 14-minute video clip posted on YouTube, the former Perlis mufti explained that while the government has a right to restrict usage of the Arabic word for God, it should not use religion as an excuse because Islam allows for followers of other faiths the right to call their God.

Friday sermon irks local church leaders as ‘Allah’ row rages on

Friday sermon irks local church leaders as ‘Allah’ row rages on

January 26, 2013
Malaysian Insider
The ‘Allah’ dispute remains a hot-button topic in the run-up to this year’s polls. – File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 - Local clergymen are unhappy that federal Islamic authorities appear to be bent on “waging a war” between the country’s Muslims and Christians over the protracted dispute on non-Muslims’ usage of “Allah” to refer to their God.
When contacted for their response to yesterday’s Friday sermon by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), church leaders sighed in disappointment that the religious authority was so blatantly inciting suspicion and intolerance between the two most dominant religions here.
But they refrained from condemning Jakim, noting that the authority reserved the right to preach to all Islamic followers like how church leaders could preach to parisioners, adding that it was time to lay the matter to rest.
“The emphasis is unfortunate, because all religious places should be teaching people to live in peace and harmony with others, instead of cultivating a culture of suspicion,” said Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) general secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri.
Treading carefully, the leader said that religions should always foster togetherness and acceptance, and should prevent from creating a society of fanatics.
“But that is all I can say at this point,” he added.
Catholic priest Rev Fr Simon Labrooy was more forward with hs words, asking if the individual or individuals who penned the sermon in Jakim had unity or division in his mind.
He said it was not the Malaysian Muslims who were “waging a war” on the Christians, but suggested that it was the person who wrote the sermon who should be investigated for his intention.
“Never that the Muslims are to blame for doing this. But who has the right to write this? He should be hauled up because it shows that in his mind, he is already inciting religious tension.
“Next, we have already provided a lot of facts o why and how ‘Allah’ has been used by Christians... why do you want to commit yourself to a blatant lie like this?
“How could you judge the Arab-speaking world, particularly the Christians who use ‘Allah’ there?” he said.
When asked if Subang Jaya parisioners in his flock have been affected by the ongoing polemic or feel animosity towards Muslims, Labrooy said Christians are aware that the ordinary Muslim is not the one responsible for the dispute.
“They (Muslims) too do not want tension or trouble... this is just the work of a few bad apples,” he said.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church parish priest Rev Fr Michael Chua said the latest Friday sermon would warrant another discussion among CFM members on whether they should issue another response to the issue.
“This is not the first time... there have been many other occasions and we cannot be responding to every single thing.
“Let us stick to our last stand on this issue... for the sake of not prolonging this,” he said, referring to CFM’s remarks on the threat by Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali to burn Malay language Bibles.
In the statement issued four days ago, the CFM had expressed disgust with the threat, reminding those who intend to participate in it that all religious scriptures are sacred books.
“Christians are peace-loving people who will continue to seek peace and harmony across all religious groups for the well-being of our great country.
“We call on those who desire to foment hatred for political gain to cease and desist from such  a vile act -  an act unbecoming of us as Malaysians who uphold the Rukunegara of  which the first pillar is ‘Belief in God’,” said CFM in the statement signed by its president Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing.
In Jakim’s Friday sermon yesterday, the religious authority warned Muslims nationwide of attempts by “enemies of Islam” to confuse them into believing that all religions are the same.
Muslims here were also told that being too open-minded and allowing Islamic rights to be abused by other religions was a “dangerous” act.
“It is very clear that today, enemies of Islam are seeking to divert and undermine the Muslim community’s faith.
“They are united among themselves and are attempting, with their many tricks and ways, to stake their claim on the usage of ‘Allah’ in their scriptures,” the sermon said.
Jakim insisted that “Allah”, a word that millions of Arab Christians and those in non-Arabic-speaking lands use to describe their God, belongs to Muslims and is an exclusive right to those who profess Islam as it is clearly to prevent Muslims from becoming confused, doubtful and mistaken over the true identity of the Muslim God.
Citing an unnamed academic research, Jakim said that the word “Allah” was never found in the Bible as God, to these users of the holy book, exists in the Trinity concept as “God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
The general term for the Holy Trinity, said the religious department, is “The Lord”.
As such, Jakim insisted that the National Fatwa Council’s 2008 decision on the matter was accurate in stating that “Allah” cannot be used by those of other religions and cannot be likened to the Gods of others.
The authority also warned that painful punishment would await disbelievers in the afterlife, noting that these “symptoms” if Islam’s collapse would only destroy the glory and prestige of Muslims here.
The “Allah” dispute, which first erupted after the watershed 2008 Elections, remains a hot-button topic in the run-up to this year’s polls.
Debate resurfaced last month after DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is also the Penang Chief Minister, called on Putrajaya in his Christmas message to lift a ban on Malay-language bibles in Borneo Malaysia.
Hot on the heels of the DAP leader’s remarks, several state Rulers and Islamic religious authorities reminded non-Muslims of state laws banning use of the word, despite conflicting with a 2009 High Court judgment that ruled “Allah” was not exclusive to Islam.

Friday, January 25, 2013

DAP will submit annual statement to registrar in time

DAP will submit annual statement to registrar in time

Friday, January 25, 2013 - 10:09
Location: 
IPOH 
Malay Mail 

THE
DAP will comply with the law and submit its annual statement to the registrar of societies (ROS) within the 60-day time period after its last Central Executive Committee (CEC) elections in December.

Party vice-chairman M. Kula Segaran said the manner in which the matter was being handled, including a recent statement by ROS Director-General Datuk Abdul Rahman Othman, “revealed there was a lot of focus on this particular case”.

He said it “seemed like there were attempts by the ROS to find ways to de-register the party” before the 13th general election was held.

“This seems to be the easiest way to wipe out the DAP. Abdul Rahman’s actions indicate that Barisan Nasional is prepared to get rid of the DAP in any way possible," he said. The DAP held its CEC elections on Dec 15 and announced the results three days later.

However, the party later admitted there were several errors in the vote-counting and had made a correction.

Some members who were dissatisfied with the correction alleged that there were elements of fraud in the election and demanded a fresh poll.

On Tuesday, Abdul Rahman said in a press statement the party only had 20 more days to submit its annual statement to assist in the probe on the allegations that there were irregularities in the CEC election.

The complaints were made by five men, consisting two current party members and three previous members.

Abdul Rahman cited that under Section 14(1) of the Societies Act 1966, registered organisations, including political parties, must hold their general meetings and submit their annual statements, which must contain the financial statement and list of their committee members, within 60 days after the meetings.

Kula said the two members who lodged the report to the registrar should have utilised the means and channels within the party to air their grievances on the matter, as provided for under Section 16 of the Societies Act 1966.

“None of the 68 candidates who won and lost their bids in the elections have made any complaints,” he said.

Kula said the DAP was honest and transparent when it decided to make rectifications to the mistakes immediately.

“The rectifications were audited by an external qualified chartered accountants,” he said.

Perak DAP vice-chairman and Sungkai assemblyman A Sivanesan said roadshows would be carried out weekly at a few areas in the state to explain the actual situation to the party members.

RCI ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN SABAH - REFLECTIONS BY TAN SRI SIMON SIPAUN

RCI ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN SABAH - REFLECTIONS BY TAN SRI SIMON SIPAUN

Tan Sri Simon Sipaun (Proham Chairman)
More than 20 years ago when I was still a civil servant, a gentleman came to see me. At the time he had just retired. He was a Sabahan and the substantive holder of the post of Director of the National Registration Department in Sabah. However he was never given the opportunity to function as a director. Instead he was posted to Semenanjung. He was neither a Malay nor a Muslim. He told me that genuine identity cards were prepared in the headquarters and brought to Sabah to be given  to Muslim illegal immigrants. There was a special unit to handle this.

It is people like him who should be of interest to the on-going RCI in its effort to establish the real truth concerning the illegal immigrant issue. Genuine Sabahans are keen to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

It is appropriate that the RCI has requested ex-civil servants who had first-hand experience and knowledge from inside the relevant government departments and agencies to appear before it. I hope that people from Sabah who have done research, written books and articles on the issues and problems associated with illegal immigrants will also be invited to testify. Some of them have also been detained under the ISA. The information disclosed by witnesses so far is quite shocking but not surprising.
It is shocking because the government appears to be uncaring towards Malaysians living in Sabah preferring non-citizens over citizens. It is not surprising because it is what the people of Sabah had suspected all along. I note some of the ex-civil servants who had testified had been detained under the ISA yet they were only carrying out the directives of their political masters. Why were they detained unless, of course, they were made the unfortunate scapegoats?

The Minister of Home Affairs allegedly made a statement that the government has neither issued citizenship nor given voting rights to illegal immigrants in Sabah. He wanted proof from people who thought otherwise. On 1 October, 2011, the Deputy Home Minister Lee Chee Leong was reported to have denied that Sabah is a victim of ‘projek IC’ – a planned illegal immigrant population explosion engineered by the federal government for citizenships in exchange for votes to help the present government retain political power. YB Datuk Wilfred Bumburing took up the challenge of the Home Minister. YB Datuk Wilfred can relate the rest of the story as he knows best.

In the early 70s a lot of Vietnamese refugees landed in Semenanjung. They were confined to Pulau Bidong and within 2 years they were all moved to other countries. They were not Muslims. There appears to be double standard. One standard for the non-Muslim Vietnamese and one for the Muslim illegal immigrants in Sabah.
Malaysia is neither a state party to the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 nor the 1967 Protocol. This being the case, all refugees in Malaysia are treated as illegal immigrants. They are subjected to penalties, detention and deportation under the Immigration Act 1959/63. This Act does not recognize refugees.

To indicate that the Federal Government is seen to be doing something to resolve the mother of all problems in Sabah, a Federal Task Force was established more than 25 years ago. But it took one year just to create the post of the head of the task force. Today, the task force is still in existence, but so is the problem, only bigger and more complicated.
I do not blame the illegal immigrants for being in Sabah. As human beings they are just looking for a better life. They have human rights like any Malaysian, no more no less. Human rights have no borders. However, I question the authorities for allowing them into Sabah without proper documents and move around in Sabah with impunity.

The rapidly increasing number of illegal immigrants is fast changing the economic, social, cultural and political landscape of the state. The reverse take-over has long started. It appears that the government has no intention of resolving the problems once and for all because government appears to be part of the problem rather than the solution. This is indicated by the terms of reference of the RCI which are by and large investigative in nature. The terms of reference should include identifying who are the real culprits followed by prosecution. I hope the RCI will interpret its mandate liberally.
Foreigners who were not qualified to be given citizenship status or given the right to vote illegally should have their citizenship revoked and deported to their country of origin. However, I fear that there will not be any political will to resolve the issue as it appears that it is part of the present government agenda. If not, this problem should not arise today.

The demand by genuine Sabahans for the formation of an RCI is not new. Much earlier 100,000 signatures had been collected requesting government to establish an RCI. It was followed by a long period of silence. It was not until 8 February,2012 that a decision was made for the formation of the RCI. At the time its terms of reference were not known. To arrive at a decision on its establishment without the terms of reference is like putting the cart before the horse. Many people are of the view that if it was not for the impending 13th general election, it is very conceivable that the RCI would not have been established.
Malaysians living in Sabah feel very uneasy, threatened and insecure as the number of foreigners keeps increasing. You may remember the demonstrations that took place in March, 1986. My office at the time was over-looking the state mosque and I could see hundreds of them gathering outside the mosque before they took to the streets. The only Sabahans I noticed were a few prominent political leaders from berjaya and usno leading them. The illegal immigrants were being made use of. I heard explosions all over town. A number of vehicles were either over-turned or burnt. It was very frightening. If my memory does not fail me, I think at least five people lost their lives. Sabah people will not do this sort of thing. I could not believe that such incidents could take place in Sabah. It was sad and reflected very badly on the mindset and maturity of the leaders who had a hand in instigating the illegal immigrants to demonstrate and causing unnecessary fear among the peace loving public.

When kg. Ice-box in Tawau was burnt about 25 years ago 5000 people lost their houses. Of the 5000, only 500 were Malaysians. The late general Zulkifli told me he saw many of them coming out with M16 in their possession.
In 1970, Sarawak population was about 1 million. In 2004, 34 years later, it was about 2 million. In 1970, Sabah’s population was about 698,000. In 2004, it was estimated to be between 3.3 and 3.5 million. Based on Sarawak’s population growth rate Sabah’s population in 2004 should be around 1.4 million. There is a ‘surplus’ of 1.9 million.

As of June 2005 the district of Kinabatangan had a population of about 85,000 and only about 25,000 were Malaysians. As at 23 December, 2005 Sabah’s prison population was 3052. About 70% were foreigners. In KK we have a Filipino market. In kg. Boronuon behind Telipok town you can see thousands of them. Next to it is a completed housing development. The last time I saw the place, not a single unit has been taken up. The Minister of Health was reported in the Daily Express in its 9 July, 2006 edition that hospitals in Sabah were receiving the most number of foreigners amounting to about 30%. According to the Minister, some of them used forged identity cards to gain admission and leave without paying. They also account for many cases of contagious and communicable diseases. It was reported in the Daily Express on 18 November, 2007 that 80% of the Likas maternity hospital beds were occupied by illegal immigrants.
It is ironical that whilst thousands of illegal immigrants have become citizens and voters, many locals especially those living in remote areas have no valid documents such as birth certificates and mykad. Technically they are stateless and yet they have never left the place of their birth. It has been said that what is impossible elsewhere is possible in Sabah. Some of you may recall a news report in 2002 regarding an immigration raid in Keningau. 34 foreigners were found to be in possession of mykad. At the time mykad had not yet been introduced in Sabah. The National Registration Department confirmed that the cards were indeed genuine. How could this happen without the complicity of the relevant authorities?

It is common knowledge that the electoral roll in Sabah is highly tainted. The new Sabah Times in its 9 June, 2001 edition reported that the High Court ordered former CM Datuk Yong Teck Lee to vacate his Likas seat because he won it in 1999 with the help of phantom voters. Justice Datuk Muhammad Kamil Awang said that the 1998 electoral roll for the constituency was illegal and the election held in March 1999 was null and void. The judge, amongst others, stated that the evidence adduced was tip of an iceberg and fantastic evidence.
The next logical step would have been to clean the electoral roll. Instead, Parliament amended the Election Act, whereby the electoral roll once gazetted cannot be challenged in any court of law. This is just not right. A clean electoral roll represents a universal democratic value. Immediate action should be taken to clean the tainted electoral roll before the 13 general election. If the Election Commission is unable to do it for some reasons it could be farmed out to a suitably qualified, experienced and independent organization.
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Views shared by Tan Sri Simon Sipaun at the DAP Public Forum on the RCI on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah held on Thursday 24 January, 2013, 2.30 pm – 4.30 pm at the Star City, Kota Kinabalu.