KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 ― Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal today cautioned federal agencies to be cautious when issuing documentation to applicants, following the Sabah Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) findings that illegal immigrants have been issued identity cards (IC).
The rural and regional development minister noted that this was because there remains a large number of Malaysians without documents in rural areas.
“What is important now is that we identify those entitled to the rightful documents, those not entitled, don't give.
“We know there are still local children in rural areas, villages, who may not have been able to obtain the proper documents due to various reasons. And they have the right to because they are Malaysian citizens,” he told reporters after meeting with chairmen and board of directors at companies under his ministry at the Premiera Hotel.
Yesterday, the RCI on illegal immigrants in Sabah finally released a 366-page report , some six months after it was presented to the prime minister and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The royal panel previously heard testimony that the National Registration Department (NRD) issued 67,675 foreigners with identity papers.
Today, Shafie said the government will implement policy changes at agencies involved, such as the NRD, “where it has to take drastic measures to solve this problem”.
“There shouldn’t be any doubt, suspicion, mistrust on the existing channels that manage the registration of Malaysians,” he said referring to continued suspicions of the so-called “Projek IC” citizenship-for-votes conspiracy.
Yesterday, the RCI’s findings said “Projek IC” probably existed but was not politically motivated. Instead, it pinpointed corrupt officials for the problem.
“Projek IC” is said to be responsible for the abnormal spike in Sabah’s population, where foreigners comprise nearly 30 per cent of the state’s 3.12 million-strong populace.