Since he took office about three years ago, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has been the subject of unscrupulous attacks from many quarters, especially the Opposition. Even among friends and pro-government bloggers, he doesn't seem to be in their good book.
Hisham has been accused of opening the floodgates to immigrants by granting them PR status 'so easily'. Worst still, they believed Hisham was being so lenient to the Chinese nationals by according them with full citizenship.
I am not sure. I dont have the figure as it is fully classified (is it?).
However, I do not think the Home Ministry is selling PR and citizenship to foreigners who wish to be part of us. I have seen the procedure. There was no easy passage. I have talked to some senior officials at the ministry, the Immigration Dept and the National Registration Dept, and nothing pointed to what was described by the Opposition as a back door entry.
And sorry, I am also not sure about the previous regimes under Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, Azmi Khalid and Syed Hamid Albar who many accused of making tonnes of money from 'human tradings' and 'human trafficking'.
In Sembrong yesterday, Hisham had - for the first time - refuted allegations that his ministry has been according PR and citizenship status readily (here). That was a strong statement, meant as a 'once for all' answer to those who put the procedure on doubt.
"I know for a fact that the allegations are baseless because I am the one who considers the recommendations from our officers. We approve the PR status in accordance with the law," he told the Press.
So, there is no such thing that our Malaysian PR and citizenship status is for sale. However, its an undeniable fact that some ministry's officials, including with the Immigration and Registration Departments do make money over the deals, and it is up to the MACC to investigate.
But I have something to ask Hisham - when I was a reporter, the Government Gazette was one of my compulsory reference for 'scoops'. I got almost every edition of it. There were a lot of exclusive stories, particularly with regards to the Home Ministry - the number and names of people who got their citizenship stripped, the list of convicts on banishment, etc.
There was also a list of foreigners accorded with full citizenship, and of course how many PR applicants were approved every month.
Bro Hisham. What happens to the Gazette, and why is the information on PR and citizenship be made 'classified' when it was not suppose to be blanketed? I think if the Gazette carries the details, the Opposition and 'friends' who throw rubbish at you may go on silence.
When we are transparent, critics would not come easy...