Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Illegal Citizenship - Let The Investigations Begin, Says Suhakam.

There have been numerous allegations over the years that many non citizens had fraudulently obtained the Malaysian Identification Card (IC). This is especially so in Sabah.

Saying "enough is enough," The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) wants the Home Affairs Ministry to carry out an immediate investigation. Suhakam chairman for complaints and enquiries working group Datuk Choo Siew Kioh said if the allegation was not checked, it might affect the political stability and security of the country. "The names of the non-citizens who had Malaysian ICs will also appear in the electoral rolls, and they are likely to exercise their rights to vote," he said.

He said Suhakam would be submitting a report on their investigation on illegal immigrants and citizenship in Sabah to the Home Affairs Ministry by end of September, and was currently finalising the report. Choo said there was an urgent need for the government to take an immediate action on these illegal immigrants and citizenship problems in Sabah.

In the Sabah context, the problems were associated with refugees, illegal immigrants, stateless and undocumented people, and their presence in large numbers, had a great impact on the state's economic, social, cultural and political stability, he said. "Many Malaysians living in Sabah felt threatened and insecure as the number of foreigners keeps increasing although no one really knows the exact figures," he said.

Choo hoped that the government would also investigate and resolve the complaints by some Sabahans that they were not able to obtain their ICs due to lack of documentation and various other reasons.

**** Sometimes I wonder why there seems to be a lack of political will to once and for all settle this nagging problem? There have been insinuations that the government is using these illegal immigrants as a vote bank to 'offset' any anti-Malay tilt in the voting habits of the Sabahans. With a large Christian population to contend with, who are probably watching with apprehension the increasingly strident pro-Islamic leanings of the federal government, Umno would not take chances on expecting the Kadazan based parties to deliver the votes.

The KL(Putrajaya) government is well aware of the mess that Salleh earlier and Musa Aman now have made and even the Malays and others of the rumpun Melayu there are not exactly enamoured by them. Also after Joseph Pairin Kitingan's ill-fated attempts at Kadazan unity and ketuanan, no Kadazan party will be ever fully trusted by Umno. Therefore there is wisdom, no matter how unconstitutional, in maintaining a 'safety-valve' of sorts, in case push comes to shove. Whether these illegal immigrant 'voters' will deliver on election day is another story.

I must emphasise here that all of the above is, as I had mentioned earlier, merely insinuation and there may not even be an iota of truth to it. However I leave it to each and everyone of you to come to your own conclusions why there still should be so many illegal immigrants proudly walking round the country carrying Malaysian ICs.


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