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Thursday, January 31, 2013

‘It was easy to become Malaysian’


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(The Star) - A trader from India told the Royal Commission of Inquiry that he obtained a Malaysian blue identity card (IC) in 1988 without any birth certificate or even a statutory declaration.
Tamil Nadu-born Nasir Yusof told the commission that he was among about 1,000 Indian and Pakistani nationals from around Kota Marudu and Kudat district who got a Malaysian IC from the National Registration Department (NRD) office in Kota Marudu.
He told conducting officer Jamil Aripin that a staff member at the office helped him fill up the forms, which stated his place of birth as Kampung Berunggis in Tuaran.
“I knew the details were wrong but I went along as I wanted to become a Malaysian,” he said.
He said apart from the RM12 processing fee, he did not make any other payment for the IC, which he received several months later.
Nasir said he also did not face any problem when changing the old IC to the high security version later, adding that he had registered as a voter in 1990 and cast his vote three times ever since.
When asked if he considered himself an Indian citizen, Nasir said: “I cannot even vote there any more.
“I have stayed in Sabah for more than 30 years. This is my home now.’’
Earlier, the head of Kampung Sungai Buaya Filipino refugee settlement in Tawau, Sioh Jabidi, said a photograph of the area showed one of the houses flying a local Opposition party flag.
Sioh described the seaside settlement as squalid, with no electricity and constantly surrounded by garbage washed in by the tide.
During the inquiry, several foreigners related how they slipped into Sabah as there were never any checks in waters off the state.
They even managed to get jobs here without holding any personal document.
Those who were arrested and faced deportation, such as Indonesian Nisa Rahmat and Filipino Degon Alay, said they intended to return to Sabah because jobs were plentiful.
Nisa, Degon as well as fellow Filipinos Rasad Salleh and Wajar Atik told the commission that the boats that transported them to Sabah entered the state waters off Sandakan and Tawau districts unhindered.
“We were not checked by anyone.”

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