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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Indonesian tells RCI he voted after court official got him blue IC


An Indonesian immigrant who arrived in Sabah in 1973, received a blue identity card in 1979 from a Tawau Native Court official. – Filepic
KOTA KINABALU, Jan 31 – An Indonesian immigrant told the royal inquiry on illegal immigrants here today that a Tawau Native Court official had given him a blue identity card in 1979 to vote for the ruling party.
Yuhanis Bira, 57, said he arrived in Sabah in 1973 and received the identity card six years later from the court official, whom he did not name, without producing a birth certificate.
“He (the official) said can support the government... so I support the government lah,” said Yuhanis at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) today.
“Through voting?” asked Datuk Ahmad Abd Rahman, who kept a watching brief for the Sabah Law Association.
“Yes,” replied Yuhanis.
Yuhanis said that he registered as a voter in 1981 and has voted in every election since.
The Berjaya party governed Sabah from 1976 to 1985 under then-Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh.
He has denied to the RCI the existence of “Project IC”.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the country’s longest serving prime minister who was in power from 1981 to 2003, has been accused of spearheading the so-called “Project IC”, in which citizenship was allegedly given to immigrants in exchange for their votes.
Yuhanis said today that he only paid the court official RM12 for the identity card, which he received in 1979 after meeting the court official a year earlier.
According to the Citizenship Rules 1964, people who want to apply to be a Malaysian citizen by naturalisation must become a permanent resident for more than 12 years and have been in Malaysia for more than 10 years.
Another Indonesian immigrant called Berahim Abdullah testified today that a friend had helped him obtain a blue identity card in 1990 without having to produce a birth certificate, ten years after he arrived in Sabah to look for work.
Berahim, who is working as a chef, also said that he registered as a voter and has voted four times in Kunak.
Asked why he registered as a voter, Berahim said it was to support the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
Both Yuhanis and Berahim also said that their identity cards stated their place of birth as Sabah, though they admitted that they were born in Indonesia.
A few Pakistani and Indian immigrants testified recently about obtaining blue identity cards — either from runners or from the National Registration Department (NRD) directly — within just a few years of arriving in Sabah without producing birth certificates.
The inquiry before former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong resumes on February 22.

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