Saturday January 12, 2013
RCI on Sabah illegals to start open court hearing on Monday
By MUGUNTAN VANAR
KOTA KINABALU: The five-man Royal Com-mission of Inquiry into Sabahís illegal immigrant problem will begin open court hearings from Monday.
The panel, headed by former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong, will begin to hear witnesses at a courtroom of the Kota Kinabalu High Court, the panelís secretary Datuk Saripuddin Kasim said.
The public hearings will be the first since the panel was formed on Sept 21 last year.
The hearings are scheduled for five days until Jan 18.
So far, 48 witnesses have been identified to testify.
The panel selected the witnesses after a special investigation team interviewed and verified the claims pertaining to issues of illegal immigrants in the state.
As of yesterday, individuals, NGOs and political parties from both sides of the political divide continue to furnish the panelís investigators with details about various claims on Sabahís illegal immigrant issue.
Parti Bersatu Sabah vice-president Datuk Radin Malleh handed five bundles of files containing some 73,983 names of suspected illegal immigrants obtaining Malaysian identity cards between 1994 and 1999 to the panelís investigators at Wisma Dang Bandang in town here.
ďI was interviewed by the panelís investigators on Jan 3 and they asked me to provide details that our party had uncovered. I am ready to testify at the hearing if I am called,Ē he said, adding that foreigners had purportedly obtained identity documents using false particulars.
Mutalib M.D., author of the book Project IC, said he had been called up by the panelís investigators to give statements over the issue late last year.
Apart from Shim, the other members of the panel include former Universiti Malaysia Sabah vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Kamaruzaman Ampon and former Sabah deputy chief minister and state attorney-general Tan Sri Herman Luping, former state secretary Datuk K.Y. Mustafa and Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation president Datuk Henry Chin.
Among the RCIís terms of reference are determining the number of immigrants in Sabah, to investigate the issuance of blue identity cards or citizenship documents to immigrants and whether they have been registered in the electoral rolls and the abnormal increase of Sabahís population.
They have been given six months to complete the probe.