Sabah RCI report: Electoral roll must be cleaned before delineation

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The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) wishes to raise several important points with regard to the report of the Royal Commission of Enquiry (sic) on Immigrants in Sabah.

mahathir and sabah IC for votes scam

Firstly, it is beyond comprehension how Federal Government Chief Secretary Ali Hamsa can conclude that “there were no political motives in the illegal issuance of identity cards”. Given the actual text of the report [1], it is clear that this is another attempt by the government to whitewash the political agenda behind ‘Project IC’.

By right, the damning testimonies on ‘Project IC’ and the questions raised over the involvement of politicians in the highest echelons of power should be further examined in a court of law. We are dismayed the RCI did not come up with any recommendations on this, despite asking the questions themselves.

Secondly, Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail has attempted to spin as insignificant the number of non-citizens on the electoral roll in influencing election outcomes. Yet, the report itself did not come to such a conclusion but clearly stated that their exact numbers are “uncertain”.

The report also conclusively found that the current electoral roll has been tainted by ‘Project IC’. It cited testimony by Sabah Rural Development Minister Radin Malleh that there are 80,620 dubious IC holders listed in the electoral roll. This underscores Bersih 2.0’s insistence that the electoral roll must be cleaned up before delineation can proceed.

Thirdly, the report does not provide a conclusive figure to the crucial question of how many immigrants in Sabah were issued blue ICs or granted citizenship. It merely cites different figures from different witnesses, without providing evaluation of their reliability or accuracy. As such, this finding carries no weight and the Inquiry has failed in this regard.

Lastly, this report has enormous implications for the future of Malaysian security, nationhood and democracy, and hence should be as widely accessible as possible at no cost. We are thus vexed by the way the report has been released: The government did not table it in Parliament despite initial assurances, then launched the report in an invite-only event, restricted to media and government official,; and made available only in Putrajaya and Kota Kinabalu for a cost of RM100.

This statement is based on our initial assessment of the RCI report. We will be coming up with a detailed response upon further scrutiny.

Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0, which comprises:

Chairperson: Maria Chin Abdullah; Treasurer: Masjaliza Hamzah; national representatives: Prof Madya Dr Abdul Halim bin Yusoff, Farhana binti Abdul Halim, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and New Sin Yew; vice-chairpersons: Jannie Lasimbang (Sabah), Ahmad b Awang Ali (Sarawak), Abd Halim b Wan Ismail (East Peninsula), Thomas Fann (South Peninsula), Simon Lee Ying Wai (Central Peninsula) and Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (North Peninsula).

[1] P295. “It is clear that there was a clandestine exercise involving senior officers in the NRD, Sabah, who apparently acted on the orders from their political superiors. This clandestine exercise involved illegal activities relating to the processing and issuance of Malaysian identification documents to illegal immigrants in pursuit of a political agenda. The names mentioned by some of the above witnesses have included Tan Sri Harris Salleh, the former Chief Minister of Sabah; Tan Sri Aziz Shamsuddin, the former Political Secretary of the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir and the late Tan Sri Megat Junid, the then Deputy Home Affairs Minister.”

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