By guaranteeing the protection of informers, the RCI would be able to get to the bottom of how hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants were given citizenship.
TAWAU 17/11/2012: Tawau MP Chua Soon Bui wants anyone who provides information to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on issues related to illegal immigrants in Sabah to be protected by the government under the Whistleblower Protection Act.
She said such a move would encourage those who have details of what transpired to come forward to assist the RCI on its investigation into the complex issue that has changed the demographics of the state.
Chua, who is also a vice-president of the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), made the request during the debate on the 2013 Budget at the policy stage in the Dewan Rakyat recently.
She said that by guaranteeing the protection of informers, the RCI would be able to get to the bottom of how and why hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants were given citizenship dating from the 1980s as well as how many have managed to circumvent the citizenship process through legal loopholes such as birth registration and statutory declarations.
In his reply on how the government intended to deal with those civil servants found responsible for ignoring immigration laws and procedures when certifying citizenship documents, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz said that action may be taken under the provisions of the relevant laws.
He said that based on the recommendations of the RCI, the government will also decide on the course of action to be taken against these illegal immigrants, who were allegedly given MyKads through the infamous “Project IC”.
The RCI, which will start interviewing witnesses next year, is required to submit a report on its investigation to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong within six months and it may include the identity of any individual who in its opinion should be reported.
The terms of reference (TOR) for the RCI that were gazetted on Sept 21, 2012 require the commissioners to investigate the abnormal increase in Sabah’s population, the alleged issuance of Malaysian citizenship to illegal immigrants through secretive means such as the widely reported “Project IC” as well as their alleged recruitment as voters.
Social implications to Sabah
The terms of reference are:
- to study the number of illegal immigrants in Sabah who have been given blue identity cards or citizenship;
- to investigate whether the granting of a blue identity card or citizenship to illegal immigrants in Sabah is in accordance with the provisions of the law;
- to investigate whether illegal immigrants in Sabah who hold blue identity cards, receives temporary identification or citizenship which is not in accordance with the provision of the law have been registered as voters;
- to investigate whether any relevant authority has taken any action or make any improvement to the standard procedures, methods and regulations to prevent any irregularity;
- to investigate further on the standard procedures, methods and regulations on the granting of a blue identity card or citizenship to illegal immigrants in Sabah by taking into account the international standards and norms applicable to Malaysia, and to recommend any amendment or change to strengthen and improve the standard procedures, methods and regulations;
- to investigate the reasons for the increase in the population in Sabah and examine its impact on the electoral roll according to the following categories: (a) Sabahans residing in Sabah, including those given blue identity cards and citizenship through birth certificate (late registration), (b) foreign workers (including family members); (c) illegal immigrants (including family members); and (d) refugees;
- to investigate the social implications on society in Sabah as a consequence of granting of a blue identity card or citizenship to illegal immigrants in Sabah ; and
- to investigate the number of illegal immigrants in Sabah that have been given blue identity cards or citizenship taking into account their status as stateless people.