KOTA KINABALU: Hundreds of thousand of blue identification cards may have been issued to immigrants during a secret exercise to recruit voters in Sabah in the early 90s, according to former National Registration Department (NRD) officers here.
Ex-NRD office head Akup Damsah said several officers including himself, were called for a special assignment in 1990 to process blue ICs meant for immigrants.
Akup, who was attached with the Tamparuli NRD Office before he was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in 1995, said his team was brought to Kuala Lumpur where he helped process at least 40,000 ICs in a month.
“My job included signing the IC, I think I must have signed in the region of hundreds of thousands throughout my service,” he said when testifying before the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Immigrants in Sabah, yesterday.
“In Kualau Lumpur, I and other officers who were summoned by the NRD Director, were placed in a house in Kampung Pandan. If I’m not mistaken it was the house of Pak Aziz, the then political secretary to Tun Mahathir.
“We were briefed by the NRD director and another person about our task, and our duty was just to sign the ICs that were already filled with applicants’ particulars. We knew it was against the law but as a government servant we were bound to our duties to carry out the directive from our superior,” he said.
They were gazetted as authorized officers for signing the ICs and also given verbal assurance that they would be protected from any legal action for their involvement in the exercise, he added.
“The ICs would then be sent to NRD headqurters in Petaling Jaya to be laminated. I myself have personally took some of the IC for laminating. The processed IC would then be brought back to Sabah to be claimed by their respective applicants.
“I do not know whether the people to whom the IC were given have made proper applications as this (processing of applications) was handled by other parties, so was the handing over of the IC. But all the IC issued have proper records with duplicates kept by the NRD,” he said.
According to Akup, most of the applicants being given the ICs were Filipinos and Indonesians.