The disclosures in the current RCI hearing in Sabah may lead to more damaging testimonies implicating the state's top leadership.
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, who is also the state’s Umno chief, could be in for some uncomfortable moments soon as those involved in handing out Malaysian documents to illegal immigrants in Sabah continue to expose the high and mighty.
So far, one ex-chief minister, Osu Sukam has been implicated by the testimony of a former director of Sabah’s National Registration Department (NRD) at the ongoing investigation by Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants problems in Sabah here.
Ramli Kamaruddin, in his testimony said Osu was present with then federal deputy home minister Megat Junid Megat Ayob at a hotel here in 1994 when he was given instruction “to issue NRD receipts using the name and identity card numbers of voters already in the electoral roll, with the sole purpose of allowing them to vote to help ensure that a state government endorsed by the federal government would win” in Sabah.
A former right-hand man of ex-premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Abdul Aziz Shamsudin, was also mentioned at the RCI hearing which, going on current disclosures, promises to expose one of the biggest scandals in Malaysia’s history involving members of the ruling Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government.
Another former chief minister, Harris Salleh, who testified before the five-member RCI, tried to shield himself from the scandal by saying that it was the federal authorities that gave immigrants Malaysian documents like IC, and not him or even the state government he led.
He also denied any knowledge of a project to parcel out ICs in exchange for votes.
Musa was dragged into the scandal after his name was mentioned many times in books by blogger Mutalib M.D.
The blogger had implied Musa’s involvement in recruiting illegal immigrants in Sabah to become Umno operatives and also voters to defeat Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) state government in the 1994 election.
Mutalib, who did his own research and interviews with people directly involved in or in the know of the security scandal, has written prolifically on the hiring of Muslim illegal immigrants from the Philippines and Indonesia by Umno.
Musa’s involvement is based on his being the chairman of an alleged special task force set up by Sabah Umno to recruit immigrants. A former Umno member, Jabarkan Napi, has also repeatedly named Musa in the scam.
Jabarkan, known for his outspokenness, is to give his own testimony to the RCI soon and his could be explosive and could severely damage Musa’s standing among Sabahans especially his Kadazandusun allies within the state BN.
However, Jabarkan’s name in the RCI witness investigation list is stated as “reserve witness”.
So far several former Sabah NRD officers, including one Yakup Damsah, have testified that he and other officers stayed at the residence of Abdul Aziz in Kg Pandan, Kuala Lumpur, where they ran an operation to issue blue identity cards to immigrants in Sabah.
Yakup, who was then Tamparuli NRD chief, told the RCI that he and the other NRD officers were flown from Sabah to Kuala Lumpur, and were tasked to sign the identity cards that were to be issued to the immigrants, which were then laminated at the NRD headquarters in Petaling Jaya and shipped to the Kota Kinabalu NRD for distribution.
He said prior to that they received instructions from then-Sabah NRD chief, Abdul Rauf Sani, about their special assignment to issue blue identity cards to immigrants.
Yakup, who was eventually detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA), said his group signed a total of 40,000 blue identity cards within a month, based on the filled up application forms provided to them.
The RCI is chaired by former judge Steve Shim and is convening daily inquiry for the next few weeks at the old wing of the Kota Kinabalu High Court Building.