Commission given six months to complete investigation on illegals in Sabah
KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in announcing the details and terms of reference on the setting up of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah here yesterday, said it would be given six months to complete its investigation on the influx of illegal immigrants in Sabah.
He said the six months period would begin from the date the instrument of appointments were issued to the RCI chairman and panel members and that the report would be submitted to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The commission will be chaired by former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong while Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Saripuddin Kasim has been appointed the secretary.
The RCI will have four commissioners namely former Universiti Malaysia Sabah vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Kamaruzaman Ampon, former Sabah Attorney-General Tan Sri Herman Luping, former Sabah State Secretary Datuk KY Mustafa and Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation deputy chairman, Datuk Henry Chin Poy Wu.
The federal government’s proposal to set up the commission under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1950 had received the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, he told reporters after a meeting with state Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders at the Umno Building near here.
Also present was Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
The prime minister also announced the terms of reference for the commission, which was to investigate the number of immigrants in Sabah who were issued identity cards or citizenship.
He said the investigation would focus on whether the issuance of the blue identity cards or citizenship to the immigrants was made based on the law.
The commission will also investigate whether those who obtained the blue identity card or temporary identification receipt (blue) or citizenship illegally were registered in the Electoral Roll, he added.
Apart from that, Najib said the RCI would also investigate whether the relevant authorities had taken any action or made efforts to improve standard operating procedures, methods and regulations to avoid non-uniformity with the law in regard to the matter.
Further investigation was also needed in matters pertaining to the standard operating procedures, methods and regulations on the issuance of the blue identity cards or citizenship to immigrants in Sabah by taking into account international standard and norms used in Malaysia, he added.
“It will recommend amendments or changes to strengthen or improve the standard operating procedures, methods and regulations,” he added.
Najib said the RCI was also set up to find the cause for the increase in the population in Sabah, based on several categories, namely, Sabah people residing in the state, including those who had been issued with blue identity card and citizenship through birth certificates (late registration), foreign workers (including family members), illegal immigrants (including family members) and refugees, as well as the effects on the number of voters in the electoral roll.
“We also investigate the social implications on the society in Sabah arising from the issuance of the blue identity card or citizenship to immigrants and the number of immigrants in Sabah who have been given the blue identity card or citizenship by taking into account their status as stateless people,” he said.
Najib said the setting up of the commission proved the federal government’s high commitment to investigate issues pertaining to immigrants in Sabah.
He said the government hoped that the Sabah people would benefit from the setting up of the commission and give their support to the government’s efforts to look for the best strategy and approach to address the problem. Prior to this, several quarters in Sabah, including state BN component parties and non-governmental organisations, were loud in voicing their concerns over the problems of illegal immigrants in the state and wanted the BN government to address the problem.
Based on answers given in parliament last year, the population in Sabah,which was 651,304 in 1970, rose to 929,299 a decade later. However, two decades after that, it rose to 1.5 million and in 2000, it was 2,468,246 people. — Bernama