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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sabah RCI's star witness dies before taking stand

A star witness who was to testify before the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on immigrants in Sabah investigating alleged illegal granting of citizenship to foreigners has died before he had the chance to take the stand.

mutalib mdMD Mutalib @ Abdul Mutalib Mohd Daud, 51, passed away at 3am yesterday. He was believed to have suffered a stroke.

His 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 while Mutalib was a child and he later became an activist dedicated to exposing 'Project IC' and corruption in Sabah.

He 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).

On the witness list

Mutalib md mykad project ic bookMutalib was also the editor-in-chief of Sabahkini.net, a portal dedicated to public interest issues in Sabah as well as a focus on Project IC.

His writings had been raised several times during the course of the Sabah RCI's investigation and his name was already on the witness list, due to be called soon.

Mutalib's passing was just two days before the sixth session of the Sabah RCI that will resume in Kota Kinabalu tomorrow.

However, Mutalib did testify against former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh last week at the defamation trial of PKR leader Chong Eng Leong.

Harris is suing Chong for RM50 million for accusing him of being involved in Project IC. The trial took place from June 19 to 21 and will continue on July 3.

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