BUKIT MERTAJAM: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested that a Royal Commission of Inquiry be set up to investigate the granting of citizenships to one million foreign immigrants in the Federation of Malaya, before Malaysia gained independence.
However, he emphasised that it was merely a suggestion, because any such investigation should be comprehensive and not focused on just one side.
“I’m just suggesting it, and not really serious about (implementing) it. But if there’s an investigation it must be comprehensive, it’s not fair to focus on only one matter,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters after delivering the keynote address at the ‘2013 Penang Malays Economic and Education Transformation’ convention at Universiti Teknologi Mara, here yesterday.
He had been asked to comment on criticisms leveled at him for granting citizenships to 200,000 foreign immigrants in Sabah, during the time he was prime minister.
Saying the 200,000 foreign immigrants had been in Sabah for more than 20 years, spoke Malay and had assimilated local culture, he added,” From a legal standpoint there were eligible for the citizenships.”
Furthermore, he said the granting of citizenships to one million foreign immigrants who came to Malaysia before independence was done by former first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj even though it was not provided in the law at the time.
“This situation came about because the Malays are generous and prepared to dilute their power, and this is very different from what happened in Sabah because they had the right to have citizenships,” he said.
Earlier in his address, he urged the Malays to weigh matters before making a decision and not just follow their emotions and feelings which could jeopardise the nation.
“There are those who are so obsessed with their leaders that even when they (the leaders) are wrong, they support them. So we must be very careful in not letting ourselves be influenced by such emotions and feelings,” he said.
Also present at the convention were Dr Mahathir’s wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali and Penang Perkasa president Yusof Suhaimi Mohd Yatim. — Bernama