KOTA KINABALU: An exercise dubbed ‘Ops Durian Buruk’ was carried out in early 1990s to increase the number of voters in various constituencies in Sabah, the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah was told yesterday.
A former senior National Registration Department (NRD) officer, Mohd Nasir Sungip, said 800 of these ‘new Malaysians’ were planted in the state constituency of Sugud.
Mohd Nasir, who is also an ex ISA detainee, disclosed that ‘Ops Durian Buruk’ was carried out on the Election Commission’s instructions to him during his tenure as the Deputy Director of the Identity Card division in the state NRD.
He disclosed that the state Election Commission Director, Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, had handed to a NRD personnel a namelist of 16,000 names to be used as Sabahan Muslim Bumiputeras.
“Together with three other NRD officers, we brought the matter to the attention of the then Sabah NRD Director, Ramli Kamarudin, who verbally instructed us to do the changes to those in possession of the JPN1/9 and JPN1/11 documents. (JPN1/9 is the Temporary Receipt issued for application of an Identity Card while JPN1/11 is issued for a lost Identity Card).
Mohd Nasir also told the panel that he did not receive any reward for carrying out the instructions of his superiors and had done so even though he was aware that it was against the law.
Q: Did you do it on your own or otherwise?
“I acted on instructions given by my superior(s)… the NRD’s Deputy Director General at that time and I also signed a ‘vow’ at that time,” he said.
Conducting officer Datuk Azmi Ariffin then asked Mohd Nasir, “In your statement to the police, you said, Ramli instructed to use the names to change the identity of those in possession of the temporary receipts. What did he want?
To this, Mohd Nasir replied: “For the names, IC numbers, dates of birth and photographs to be changed. The existence of new names were based on the list given by the Election Commission.
When Azmi asked who was the target group, Mohd Nasir replied, “Muslim Filipinos and Indonesians aged 21 and above. Most of them were from the east and west coast of Sabah.
Azmi’s next question to Mohd Nasir was, “are those in possession of these temporary receipts eligible to vote and the latter answered “yes.”
Commissioner Tan Sri Herman Luping, when questioning Mohd Nasir, asked: “You said the purpose of this exercise was to increase the number of voters in Sabah. You also said that they managed to vote. Was there a relationship between Election Commission and the National Registration Department so that the names of these people can be inserted into the Electoral Roll?
Mohd Nasir replied, “In a way, there was a collaboration or cooperation between the Election Commission and NRD to do this kind of exercise.
Earlier, Azmi asked Mohd Nasir to disclose to the panel details of his detention under ISA on May 30, 1995 and the latter stated, “I was accused of issuing identity cards to illegal immigrants who were not qualified to receive the identity document. I was detained for three years, from 1995 to 1998 in Kamunting Perak.
“Can you tell the panel about your involvement in the issuance of the identity cards?
“What I understood was that ICs are applied through the normal process where the applicants submitted the necessary supporting documents like birth certificates, statutory declarations with details as to where they were born etc. But the Special Branch was of the opinion that what we did was not according to the process and law,” he said.