KUALA LUMPUR: Syndicates and people who got help from corrupt officials set up “Project IC” in Sabah for a political agenda and money, according to a royal panel report, which however was silent on those whose actions altered the state’s demographics and religious balance.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah made public its 368-page report in the state capital Kota Kinabalu yesterday, months after it was completed and two years after the commission was formed.
The report did not name any guilty parties as it was not within the commission’s scope of duties, as stated in the terms of reference.
The nine-month inquiry from January to September last year heard testimonies from former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, former federal minister Tan Sri Aziz Shamsuddin, former Sabah chief ministers and civil servants from the national registration and immigration departments.
Other witnesses included Filipino, Indonesian, Pakistani and Indian immigrants.
The commission’s report did not deny the existence of Project IC and said it “probably existed” based on the testimonies of witnesses who had admitted to being a part of it.
But the big names formerly in government who took the witness stand never admitted to any wrongdoing, and neither were the witnesses cross-examined, the report stated.
At best, it noted that citizenship documents were unlawfully issued by syndicates and corrupt individuals who exploited a weak system.
Commenting on the release of the long-awaited report, an opposition federal lawmaker called on Putrajaya to convene an emergency parliamentary meeting to debate the RCI’s findings.
Penampang MP Darell Leiking said there were a whole lot of questions which needed answers, such as the names of the syndicates or government officers involved in this matter.
“The taxpayers’ money has already been wasted by this RCI and thus, I believe, before we embark on another wasteful endeavour as to what the so-called solution to the problem is, Parliament must deliberate on this first,” he said in a statement yesterday. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 4, 2014.