It is believed there about 1.75 million Filipinos in Sabah, who were allowed to settle in the state during Dr Mahathir Mohamad's premiership.
People should be able to place their trust in the prime minister to head the elected government; some prime ministers achieve greatness, others are best forgotten. Many are mediocre, others gain international acclaim.
The future of one Malaysian prime minister might well lie in a cell. His crime? When he was in power, he did not act in the interests of the country, but was consumed by a passion to further his own political interests. He was prepared to sell his country to foreign nationals.
Last week, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad admitted in a press conference that he had authorised the provision of ICs to Filipinos. The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Sabah revealed that between 1970 and 1984, around 73,000 Filipino refugees had been allowed to settle permanently in Sabah. Pundits claim that today, there may be around 1.75 million Filipinos.
In 2011, the opposition alleged that around three million Indonesians had been absorbed into Malaysia and given citizenship, with Bumiputera privileges and most important of all, granted full voting rights.
The Wikipedia entry for the Philippines states that there are 80 provinces which are grouped into 17 regions depending on their geographical, cultural and ethnological features.
With these allegations, Peninsular Malaysia might as well be known as the 34th province of Indonesia, and Sabah should be recognised as the 81st province of the Philippines.
Mahathir tried to deflect criticism from his “Project IC” by making unfair comparisons with the granting of citizenship to Malayans by Tunku Abdul Rahman. When he was stung by the criticisms of sullying the name of the Father of Independence, Mahathir tried to backpedal, but the damage was already done.
Malaysians don’t really care about Mahathir’s racial origins, his ethnicity or his religious conviction. They do mind his deception and the manner in which he helped propel the Ketuanan Melayu myth to the detriment of all races and religions in Malaysia.
He championed the Malays above everyone else, but left out other Malaysian-born citizens, and tagged them with the “pendatang” label.
His adherence to his Malay bloodline, whilst ignoring his equally noble Indian ancestry, is what has probably made many people despise the Indian Muslims, through no fault of their own. Many disparaging remarks which appear to be directed at all mamaks, are in reality directed solely at Mahathir.
Mahathir used the ISA and Operasi Lalang to silence his critics. He created heavy industries and installed his own cronies in these ventures. He treated the Treasury like his own private kitty, bailed out favoured people, and thought nothing of losses being borne by the taxpayers. He brainwashed Malaysians, especially the Malays, into accepting a two-tiered society.
Mahathir asked us to “Look East” because of his personal spat with the West, but unbeknown to us, he did a private deal with Margaret Thatcher in the Pergau Dam scandal.
It is laughable that anyone should think the British will come and rescue Malaysia, like the cavalry charge in the cowboy movies.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and his government are more interested in flogging their old weaponry to Malaysia, saving their firms in an economically stagnant Europe and rejuvenate their flagging property market with Malaysian EPF money.
During Tony Blair’s time, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was told to halt its investigations into the BAE arms sale to Saudi Arabia. Allegations of kickbacks to a Saudi prince proved embarrassing and Blair claimed that he was acting in the “national interest”. Will Cameron be any different?
Recently, some professionals revealed that in their student days, they were not awarded scholarships or loans for further studies because they did not show allegiance to Umno, or that their parents were not pious Umno Muslims.
These are revelations from Malays who did not have the right connections but were able to scrape up just enough money to pay for their own education. Anyone who thinks Umno helps all Malays is deluded. Umno only assists Umno Malays.
The Sabah RCI has revealed that Umno is not concerned about illegal immigration. It places more value on being in power. Mahathir and Umno were prepared to sacrifice the harmony of the Sabah people and manipulate its history. What happened in Sabah will probably be proven to hold true for Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia. Will Najib Tun Razak hold similar RCIs for them?
When the RM17.7 billion Iskandar Malaysia project was launched in Johor in 2006, a visibly angry Mahathir said: “After the land is sold, the Malays will be driven to live at the edge of the forest and even in the forest itself. In the end, the area in Iskandar Malaysia will be filled with Singaporeans and populated with only 15 percent Malays.”
These words have now come to haunt Mahathir as the RCI has exposed his treachery; but Malaysians have to ask themselves what sort of a country they want to live in.
Last week, Mahathir tried to justify his action of granting MyKads to foreigners by saying, “Malaysia accepts foreigners to become citizens provided that they meet certain conditions.”
Try telling that to the hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who live overseas. Families are torn apart because of unfair practices promulgated by Mahathir’s Bumiputera only policies. These people were shunned despite being Malaysians who were born and brought up in Malaysia. They were treated shabbily. In the end, Malaysia lost a valuable resource.
Mahathir also said of the Project IC Filipinos, “Many of them in Sabah were not there for a day or two, but 20 or 30 years and can speak Malay. They have the right to be citizens.”
Again, tell that to the thousands of Malaysians who are forced to live outside Malaysia, because their foreign-born spouses are considered persona-non-grata, despite being highly skilled and able to speak Malay.
As usual, none of this applies to the very rich or the very poor. People with money are welcome provided their wallets are always open. The very poor are welcome provided they vote for Umno.
Mahathir’s lust for political power has left a humanitarian crisis in Sabah, and we are left to clear up the mess.
Najib should ensure that the Sabah RCI is not another whitewash like the Teoh Beng Hock RCI. He should prove that he is a firm leader by bringing Mahathir to justice. Real justice, not the sham justice which we have come to associate with the Malaysian courts.
Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.