PETALING JAYA: The controversial “Project IC” had “more likely than not” existed, concluded the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI).
The panel came to the conclusion after taking into view the credibility of five witnesses during the inquiry, all National Registration Department (NRD) officers.
The five were former Sabah NRD director Ramli Kamaruddin, former registration clerk Kee Dzulkifli Kee Abdul Jalil, former assistant registration officer Asli Sidup, Tamparuli district NRD head Yakop Damsah and former state NRD director Datuk Abdul Rauf Sani.
“From the evidence of these witnesses, it is clear there was a clandestine exercise involving senior officers in the NRD, Sabah, who apparently acted under orders from their political superiors.
“This clandestine exercise involved illegal activities relating to the processing and issuance of Malaysian identification documents to illegal immigrants in pursuit of a political agenda,” said the report.
The RCI also named several prominent politicians who were mentioned by these witnesses, such as former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh, Tan Sri Aziz Shamsuddin, the former political secretary to then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and the then deputy Home Affairs Minister, the late Tan Sri Megat Junid Megat Ayob.
“All of them except for Megat Junid, who has since passed away, have denied vigorously any involvement in such clandestine exercise or in the so-called Project IC,” noted the report.
The RCI felt that from the evidence, it seemed clear that there were two sides to the issue of whether the “so-called Project IC really existed”.
“On the one hand, we have witnesses who have described in some detail their active involvement in the said project as well as the participation of certain high-profile politicians.
“On the other hand, these politicians have testified before the RCI, denying in no uncertain terms all the allegations against them,” said the report.
The report elaborated that the five witnesses from the NRD were alleged to be personally and actively involved in the project and have corroborated each others’ evidence.
“In effect, they have collectively admitted their joint involvement in some detail. Furthermore, they have made serious allegations against powerful political figures,” it said.
Secondly, the RCI took into account the evidence that in the 1990s, the population growth in Sabah rose by 78%, which would have been the highest increase since Sabah became part of Malaysia.
“That was the period when the evidence disclosed that there were significant numbers of illegal immigrants being issued with Malaysian ICs by way of statutory declaration for political purposes.
“In short, there is a probability that such a project did exist at all material times,” said the RCI.
- More stories on the RCI report
Did you find this article insightful?