Tuesday, July 16, 2013
A list containing the names of 60,000 illegal immigrants who were issued identity cards in Sabah was handed by an officer from the National Registration Department (NRD) to Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegals in Sabah heard today.
Jeffrey, who is the Bingkor assemblyman, told the inquiry that the list was handed to him in 1990 by an NRD officer who wanted something done about the way the identity cards were being issued to illegal immigrants.
“An NRD officer invited me into a room to talk to me personally. He told me that he was very, very sad as he was a Muslim but could not believe that such an incident was happening in Malaysia,” the president of the STAR party recalled.
“The officer handed me a stack of documents and told me that it contained the names of illegal immigrants who had been issued identity cards. These immigrants were going to be included in the electoral roll once they had registered.
“The horrific thing was that the officer said the names listed in the stack of documents were a small number compared with the bigger figures which being processed by the NRD headquarters.”
Jeffrey claimed that the officer said many of his colleagues had been arrested when they raised questions about the issuance of identity cards to illegal immigrants or when they had voiced their objections.
“I took the stack of documents and handed it over to the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan. I didn’t lodge a police report at that time because the issue was political in nature.”
Pairin was the Sabah Chief Minister at the time.
Jeffrey, the 181st witness called by the panel, was a former Internal Security Act detainee between 1991 and 1994.
During his time at the Kamunting detention centre, Jeffrey recalled meeting several civil servants who had also been detained under the ISA.
“They were just civil servants who had been held for various immigration and national registration offences. But it was not their fault as they were merely following orders and directives issued from the powers that be," Jeffrey told the RCI’s five-man panel led by former Sabah and Sarawak Chief Justice Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong.