Former PM Tun Dr Mohamad admitted that his government did issue Malaysian identification card to qualified Pinoys, and that he is willing to testify before the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) set up by PM Najib's government to investigate the issue in Sabah.
Those issue with the IDs, he said qualified after meeting all the standard procedures set by the law. Its fine to me.
Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, on the other hand advised the public not to speculate anything on the RCI findings, forgetting it is now becoming a political package for the opposition to hammer us in Barisan Nasional.
The RCI is fast back firing at the government, and at Umno. I believe some of us are getting worried since the general election is just around the corner.
Its just a matter of wrong timing and improper handling. Just like the failed 6P program introduced by the Home Ministry in August last year (it was fasting month and the duration was too short to cover more than 5 million foreigners in the country), the RCI was called when local politics are taking a new turn due to the rise of the opposition while national poll is expected within the next few months.
It looks more like we are submitting to demands from the opposition, which in the end strips us naked all around.
I thought the setting up of the RCI was merely to investigate the number of citizenship awarded to foreigners in Sabah since the mid 1970s and find solution to it - either to accept them as Malaysians or to determine other factors in picking the really qualified ones.
Of course we cannot be seen as being to harsh on them as many of them fled their country, notably the war-torn southern Philippines during the 1970s and 1980s. They were refugees, just like the Bosnians whom we brought in and granted with PR status during the 1990s.
The Commission, to me, is suppose to carry out investigation by betting the exact number of foreigners in Sabah, including their family members and those given Malaysian citizenship.
Instead, the RCI is fast becoming a 'court' by reprimanding those involved in the 'IC project' without having a summary as to how the matter should be solved. Its more like pointing fingers and implicating those behind it.
All eight terms of reference under the RCI also did not mention anything about finding ways to solve the issue, except for conducting inquiries and to enquire. Nothing was stated about effort to solve the problems.
Of course the setting up of the Commission reflects the sincerity of BN government to address the matter but one question remains unanswered - how are we going to settle it? Is it by revoking all the ICs, applying a new method to determine those really qualified or to send home some of them?
The manner in which the inquiry is being conducted is like bringing out the dead from the graves and leave them to 'go back' by themselves.
We got to understand the situation. These people have been here for decades, some already holding senior government position and elected to party positions, including in Umno Sabah. Some have with them their parents, grandchildren and children of their own, born, studied and grew up in the State.
Most of them are still without valid indentification documents. What are going to do with them? Flush them out?
The CRI too should cover the Peninsula as similar problems occur. While the Home Ministry, via its Immigration Dept imposes strict measure on foreigners, they are short-handed at its enforcement level, thus providing enough space for the foreigners, especially from Indonesia, to establish their own settlements in many places, including Batang Kali, Ulu Langat and Sabah Bernam.
And they too have the aged and children. The 6P did not give emphasis to determine the number of illegal immigrants and foreigners in the country as it was only meant to register the legal and illegal immigrants, and not to set up a data bank on their spouses, parents and children.
The opposition, believe me, will start to point fingers at Dr Mahathir, Najib and others as those responsible for the immigration 'chaos' in Sabah. Names like former Sabah chief minister Harris Salleh and former Deputy Home Minister Megat Junid Megat Ayob are now high on the Commission's 'wanted list'.
About 167 witnesses will testify before the RCI 'court'. Just like the Suhakam inquiry into Bersih 3.0, the RCI can expect more answer that could implicate our previous governments. Like it or not, it bears negative impact on BN in facing the next general election.
So, what is the solution once the RCI completes its 'trial' on the witnesses?