Published: Thursday January 17, 2013 MYT 6:53:00 PM
Dr M says ICs in Sabah handed out legally to foreigners
By PATRICK LEE
SHAH ALAM: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not deny that Government officials gave foreigners in Sabah identity cards before the 1994 state elections.
However, he said that these cards were handed out legally, adding that he did not know if former Deputy Home Affairs Minister Tan Sri Megat Junid Megat Ayub had ordered them to be issued on purpose ahead of state elections.
"If he did it before the state elections, that is either coincidental or deliberate, I wouldn't know, but it is within the law," he said at a press conference.
"That it happened before the state elections is not against the law," said Dr Mahathir who was also the country's Home Affairs Minister from 1986 to 1999.
He added that foreigners were legally given citizenships as long as they fulfilled certain criteria.
He was responding to news reports that a former Sabah National Registration Department (NRD) official told a Royal Commission of Inquiry that Megat Junid ordered temporary identification receipts of lost or damaged ICs to be given to foreigners.
This was supposedly done two weeks before the 1994 state elections which Parti Bersatu Sabah barely won with 25 out of 48 state assembly seats.
These foreigners were alleged to have been added to parliamentary constituencies that would have been difficult for Barisan Nasional to contest in.
It was also reported that a special NRD unit formed in the 90s had issued over 100,000 blue ICs and 200,000 birth certificates to immigrants.
It was claimed that both the NRD and the Election Commission (EC) worked together to increase the number of Muslim voters in Sabah in 1992 and 1993.