KOTA KINABALU July 18, 2011: The blame game for the massive illegal immigrants in Sabah is now at the feet of former chief minister Harris Salleh.
Earlier Harris had questioned a federal minister from Sabah for blaming the National Registration Department (NRD) for the illegal immigrants.
Anti-illegal immigrant activist Dr Chong Eng Leong has called the former chief minister to clarify his alleged involvement in the infamous ‘Project IC’ issue.
Chong said Harris had made several statements in the past where illegal immigrants were purportedly granted citizenship to prevent the dominance of the state by a largely Christian population.
Chong said Harris had told writer Paul Raffaele in his book ‘Harris Salleh of Sabah’ that the federal government had the power to do what it liked in the state.
Raffaele had quoted Harris as telling him: “… The federal government can register any of the refugees in three hours, three days, three months or three years.
“There is no law stating the time and if the federal government wanted to alter forever the voting patterns of Sabah then it can do so it as easily as signing the papers…”
This comment appeared in the last sentence of paragraph 6 on page 425 of the book, said Chong who wants Harris to clarify what he meant.
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) secretary general Wilfred Madius Tangau, a former MP, meanwhile recalled Harris’s strong objection to the calls by politicians from both sides of the political divide for the establishment a Royal Commission of Inquiry on the alleged Project IC.
He said this could be because Harris was afraid of being called as a witness should the federal government decide to proceed with it.
NRD must respond
Chong also said that Harris was implicated in the controversy by former ISA (Internal Security Act) detainee Hassnar Ibrahim who wrote in a letter which was reproduced in the book ‘IC Projek – Agenda Tersembunyi Mahathir?’ by MD Mutalib that Harris was also involved in the exercise.
In his letter, Hassnar described how Harris was involved in the issuance of blue ICs to foreigners and the purpose of the exercise. Also mentioned in this letter were many names of top civil servants involved.
“I did lodge a police report in October 2006 urging the authorities to investigate by interviewing those people mentioned in the letter but until today there is no reply from the police. I wonder if Tan Sri Harris has read this book,” said Chong in a statement issued here today.
He further noted that Hassnar was one of his witnesses in the Likas election petition 1999 trial against Sabah Progressive Party president Yong Teck Lee and the Election Commission.
“Hassnar testified under oath describing how he was involved in this fraudulent act of issuing blue ICs to foreigners in Sabah and how eventually he was arrested under ISA for it. He named names who were involved, including Tan Sri Harris.
Chong is adamant that the real culprit behind the ‘Project IC’ issue is the federal government and not the National Registration Department (NRD) as stated by Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Bernard Dompok.
“The NRD has refused to talk, and will never talk, as long as BN is in power. (The) BN government obviously does not want to resolve this perennial issue ,” he said.
Harris breathed new life into the issue recently when he defended the NRD by saying that there was nothing wrong with the department, because it was guided by the law and policies of the government.