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Sunday, June 30, 2013

PKR calls for calm over death of star witness: RCI must probe in detail Mutalib's allegations

PKR calls for calm over death of star witness: RCI must probe in detail Mutalib's allegations
Amid suspicion over the sudden death of Mutalib @ Abdul Mutalib Mohd Daud, a star witness in the controversial Sabah Royal Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Immigrants, Opposition leaders have called for calm and urged for patience until further details were revealed before jumping to "hasty conclusions".
"I knew him. He might be gone but his allegations and evidence in his writing must be thoroughly investigated by the RCI," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
Blow to RCI proceedings
Be that as it may, it cannot be denied that Mutalib's demise will deal a heavy blow to the RCI. Only aged 51, Mutalib has been reported to have died of a stroke at 3am on Saturday, just 2 days before the sixth session of the Sabah RCI was due to resume in Kota Kinabalu. Mutalib was due to take the stand during the session.
He was the editor-in-chief of Sabahkini.net, an online website dedicated to public interest issues involving Sabah, and many of the reports the website has published have focused on the infamous Project IC or Project M that is the basis for the RCI. Mutalib's writings have also been raised several times during the course of the RCI and his name is on the witness list.
Project M refers to a notorious scam which former premier Mahathir Mohamad has been accused of hatching with several other Umno bigwigs including the late minister Megat Junid, whereby illegal foreign workers were granted citizenship or residency papers in exchange for agreeing to vote for the Umno-BN during elections.
Sabah critics believed the Project M has spawned more than a million of illegal 'citizens', which in turn has led to serious social and infrastructure problems in Sabah, further delaying its economic progress and rise. Overcrowding and shortage of housing facilities as well as public amenities have led to frequent ethnic squabbling and tension in the resource-rich but economically-backward and under-developed state.
The Sabahans; unhappiness at their lot, which they blame on overly cozy ties between their state leaders and the federal government, had led to the formation of the RCI, just months before the May 5 general election. Amid widespread accusations of massive vote rigging, Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno-BN coalition had managed to hang onto power in the state.
Spectre of Stephens' shock death never far away
Paranoia or not, Sabahans are no strangers to "sudden deaths" when it comes to the world of high-stakes politics. Among suspicious deaths that are still whispered around the state is 1976 helicopter crash, where former Sabah chief minister Fuad Stephens was killed.
Stephens had wanted a review of Sabah’s participation in Malaysia after Singapore’s exit. His reasoning was that it was because of Singapore that Sabah joined Malaysia and now that the island was out of the federation, there was no longer any reason for the Borneo state to continue to be in the federation.
It has been widely reported that Stephens had been promised the post of Deputy Prime Minister and he was unhappy when that promise fizzled out with the withdrawal of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. However, in public, Fuad always pointed out that Sabah and Sarawak had opted to join Malaysia to facilitate the merger of Chinese Singapore and multiracial Malaya. The Chinese population across both sides of the causeway was greater than the Malay numbers and this was to be compensated by the Malay and other native numbers in Sabah and Sarawak through Malaysia.
Till now, Stephens' sudden death is looked upon by many in the state as a conspiracy by the Umno top brass as a means to retain political dominance and to ensure Sabah and Sarawak remain in the 13-state Malaysian federation. Umno bigwigs including those in Sabah have always denied any involvement.
Lahad Datu burial
According to Malaysiakini, Mutalib's body was brought to his home at Sulaiman Kingfisher, Kota Kinabalu, before being transferred to Bandaraya Mosque. His body will then be flown to Lahad Datu for burial.
Mutalib, who was a former Umno grassroot leader, became a fierce critic of the government, exposing alleged covert operations of foreigners being illegally granted citizenship in exchange for votes, or generally dubbed as 'Project IC'.
Though his family was from Kedah, they migrated to Sabah 40 years ago when Mutalib was a child. He later became an activist dedicated to exposing Project M and corruption in Sabah.
He also authored several books concerning Project IC, including ‘IC Projek: Agenda Tersembunyi Mahathir?' (Project IC: Mahathir's Hidden Agenda), ‘IC Palsu: Merampas Hak Anak Sabah' (Fake IC: Taking Away the Rights of Sabahan), ‘007: Lelaki Malaysia Terakhir' (007: The Last Malaysian).
Malaysia Chronicle

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