PENAMPANG, Nov 12 ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad must be brought to account for “Projek IC”, the massive operation that flooded Sabah with illegal immigrants in exchange for Malaysian citizenship, United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) demanded today.
Its president Datuk Seri Madius Tangau said the former prime minister has admitted to the initiative and must now take responsibility.
“We want the PM then who has admitted to giving out the fake ICs to be held responsible,” he said in his speech at his party’s convention at the Penampang Culture Centre here, with incumbent Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in attendance.
Tangau then played a video recording from Youtube which showed Dr Mahathir responding in the affirmative to questions about the issuance of ICs to illegal immigrants in Sabah during what looked like a news conference.
However, the video was grainy and it was unclear when and where the disclosure happened.
Tangau who is also federal Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, said Upko had interviewed more than 1,000 people at the illegal immigrant settlements that has mushroomed in Sabah and found many to be in possession of the Malaysian IC.
According to him, almost all the respondents admitted to entering the country through the backdoor.
“Not long after that they obtained a genuine Malaysian Identity Card but by paying shady officers between RM1,000 and RM10,000 for each IC. Apart from that we also have video evidence on the Project IC,” Madius said.
Sabah has been plagued by illegal immigrants for over three decades, causing socio-political and economic problems for the state.
A Royal Commission of Inquiry was formed to look into the issues in 2013 and two high level committees were formed as a result of the report.
However, many parties, including within the government lamented the delay in resolving the problem of the illegals.
Tangau highlighted today the lack of tangible action from the outcome of the committees and reiterated his party’s call for fresh Sabah specific identity card for its citizens.
He said the process may be time-consuming but the end result would authenticate Sabah-born citizens.
He also said urged the government to stop renewing the IMM13 status of some 84,000 refugees in Sabah.
“The most practical thing to do would be to stop renewing the documents and they will have to go back to their home nation. They have been here too long. Upko wants them to go back to their country,” he said emphatically.
In his speech, Tangau also slipped in his party’s hope to gain four extra seats from the 13 proposed to be added to the state legislative assembly.
“We are being realistic, just four will do,” he quipped.
He said he will raise the matter for discussion in the state Barisan Nasional coalition.