Top posts

Featured Posts

EC chief: See no Evil, Hear no Evil

By Aidila Razak
INTERVIEW Claims about the systematic granting of Malaysian citizenship to thousands of illegal immigrants in Sabah in the 1990s is the stuff of legends.

And like all good legends, evidence of such a happening may seem aplenty, but there is nothing to irrefutably prove that it had occurred.

At least, that is what former Election Commission chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman believes of the dubious operation popularly dubbed Project IC or Project M.

I have no tangible or believable information on the influx of illegal immigrants in Sabah when I was EC chief.

"All the time people carried tales, which were hard to take as real. They are just hearsay," he said in an email interview with Malaysiakini last week.

But even such hearsay remains a testy issue, as Abdul Rashid refuses to comment further on the matter, calling it "too speculative and whimsically too political".

"Hot potato, lah!" he said, dismissing the question on the matter that recently put the retired career civil servant in the soup.

Abdul Rashid was EC chief from 2001 to 2008, and was commission secretary in the period when Project IC was supposed to have taken place.

Several government officers were arrested under the Internal Security Act for allegedly being involved in an identity card (IC) scam, believed to be related to Project IC.

A Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity was set up to hear their testimonies in 2007, but the findings of the committee was never made public.

Besides this, Sabah strongman and former PKR man Jeffrey Kitingan has also penned a book on the matter, based on his extensive research.

Jeffrey and fellow Sabah politician Yong Teck Lee, through the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), documented incidents of duplication, and triplication, of identity cards on the electoral roll.

'Not my job to check authenticity of IC'

Last month, a US diplomatic cable published by whistleblower website Wikileaks revealed that ex-Malaysian for Free and Fair Election (Mafrel) chief Abdul Malik Husin said that Abdul Rashid had issued 60,000 fake identity cards then.

Abdul Malek, however, clarified to Malaysiakini that Abdul Rashid had actually registered dubious voters, and did not issue any fake identity cards as claimed in the cable.

Approached on the issue last month, Abdul Rashid said diplomats had "twisted" the words of Abdul Malek, whom he said "is a friend".

"What happened was Malek met me and said there are many thousands of ICs issued in Sabah.

"I told him checking ICs is not my job and if an IC appears genuine, it is not for me to check where it came from," Abdul Rashid said.

He added that he was still serving as EC secretary at that time and he would have risked his job by interfering in another department.

"It is not our business to ask where the ICs came from... I was just EC secretary then; I'd be sacked if I interfered in another department," he said, referring to the National Registration Department.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog