KOTA KINABALU 2/11/2012: The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to address illegal immigrant and dubious identity card issues in Sabah met for the first time in the meeting room of Kota Kinabalu High Court Building here yesterday.
The RCI Chairman and former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong, who chaired the meeting told reporters that the hearing proper would start on January 14 next year and the venue would be the High Court here.
“We are still finalising the list of witnesses but I am told we have so far 48 witnesses and more are coming,” he said.
“All witnesses, whom we think are relevant, will be called before us,” he said.
Asked whether the public can come forward to give statement, Shim said: “Anyone who can give us the relevant information can come forward to testify before us.”
Also present at the meeting were the RCI committee secretary, Datuk Saripuddin Kasim, who is also Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry secretary-general, and the four commissioners, namely former Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Kamaruzaman Ampon, former Sabah Attorney-General Tan Sri Herman Luping, former Sabah State Secretary Datuk K.Y Mustafa and Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation deputy chairman, Datuk Henry Chin Poy Wu.
Shim said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the progress of the investigation conducted by its investigation unit which was established on Oct 1 this year.
“So far the progress is very good and we will try our best to finish it within six months…six months from the date of our appointment which is Sept 21 this year.
He said the RCI committee had been given six months to complete its investigation on the influx of illegal immigrants in Sabah.
“We will try to finish everything before the deadline. Of course under the provision we can ask for extension if it can’t be completed within the stipulated time,” Shim said.
Asked about the specific areas that the committee is investigating, Shim said the committee would be investigating all aspects “which we feel are relevant to the terms of reference of the RCI”.
“We will have to focus with regard to the terms of reference…there are eight terms of reference altogether,” he said.
Asked whether the RCI could help solve the illegal immigrant problems in Sabah, Shim just said that they would try to work within the terms of reference.
In announcing the terms of reference for the commission on Aug 11 this year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had said that they would among others investigate the number of immigrants in Sabah who were issued identity cards or citizenship.
The investigation would also focus on whether the issuance of the blue identity cards or citizenship to the immigrants was made based on the law as well as investigate whether those who obtained the blue identity card or temporary identification receipt (blue) or citizenship illegally were registered in the Electoral Roll, he added.
Apart from that, Najib said the RCI would also investigate whether the relevant authorities had taken any action or made efforts to improve standard operating procedures, methods and regulations to avoid non-conformity with the law in regard to the matter.
Further investigation was also needed in matters pertaining to the standard operating procedures, methods and regulations on the issuance of the blue identity cards or citizenship to immigrants in Sabah by taking into account international standard and norms used in Malaysia, he was quoted as saying.