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Mahathir behind Project IC, says Anwar

The opposition leader points his fingers at former
prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed instead.
PETALING JAYA: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today reiterated his stance that he had nothing to do with the citizenship-for-votes granted to Sabah immigrants in the 1990s.
Instead, he accused former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad of being responsible for the task force allegedly responsible for the citizenships granted to the immigrants.
He also claimed that the exercise was ongoing and suggested that the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) haul up Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as well.
“I am ready for the [Royal Commission of Inquiry]. You can ask all the ministers, it was never discussed with me in the Cabinet, there are no minutes no reports, no related records,” Anwar said at a press conference today.
“Because the task force [to oversee Project IC] was managed by the then prime minister and handed over to (Mahathir’s political secretary) Aziz Shamsuddin and (former Deputy Home Minister Tan Sri) Megat Junid (Megat Ayub),” claimed Anwar.
“This is Mahathir’s method [to make accusations against me]; but can he deny that he is responsible for founding the taskforce? All the reports were to his knowledge. He must answer this first.”
Yesterday, Mahathir had claimed his former deputy was the main man behind the so-called “Project IC”, which is now under probe by the RCI.
He said that there were times when Anwar had acted without his orders, and that the exercise was Anwar’s own initiative.
“He normally takes the initiative and sometimes do more [than is required],” online news portal Malaysiakini quoted Mahathir as saying.
“What happens on the ground is often different from the directive [from above],” added Mahathir.
Last week, Anwar had stated his willingness to testify in the ongoing RCI, but was quick to add that he was in the dark about the project.
He also said that the RCI had not summoned him because “they know I have nothing to do with it”.
Today, Anwar again said that he would readily testify before the RCI.
“As I said from the beginning, I am prepared to be investigated,” he stressed.
The ongoing RCI has opened a can of worms for the Barisan Nasional government as it has implicated ministers and those linked to politicians in a plot allegedly aimed to secure the ruling coalition’s hold on Sabah.
Two weeks ago, a former Sabah NRD assistant registrar had testified that 100,000 blue identity cards were given to Filipino, Indonesian and Pakistani immigrants in Sabah in 1993.
The late Megat Junid Megat Ayub, who was then deputy Home Minister, had also been accused of ordering the NRD to issue temporary documents to allow immigrants to vote in a 1994 state election.
The officers testified claimed they operated from the house of Aziz Shamsuddin, who was Mahathir’s political secretary.
Although Mahathir has admitted to the project, he stressed it was all done legally and even likened the exercise to the first premier Tunku Abdul Rahman’s granting of citizenship.
Meanwhile, Sabah Umno liaison deputy chief Salleh Said Keruak had challenged Anwar to tell the truth about the project as he was deputy minister at that particular period was “a powerful man” who “knew what was going on in Sabah.”
Sabah’s veteran politician Jeffrey Kitingan had also expressed hope that Anwar would “tell the truth” about his role in “the citizenship fiasco” if he ends up testifying in the RCI.
“From what I know, he was indeed in charge of Sabah [for Umno]. He was the director of operations and was involved actively in the citizenship project,” Jeffrey told FMT last week.

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