Thursday, 1 November 2012

Sabah RCI identifies 48 witnesses

| November 1, 2012
Irrespective of whether or not the elections are called, the RCI on Sabah's population burst will begin in January 2013.
KOTA KINABALU: The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Sabah’s over three decade old illegal immigrant controversy will start public hearings next year.
With the 13th general election due anytime now and some expecting parliament to be dissolved this month, the five-man panel headed by former chief judge of Borneo Steve Shim Lip Kiong announced Jan 14 as D-Day for Sabahans to hear evidence of what many claim is a massive immigration system fraud.
Shim said the panel had so far identified 48 witnesses to be called for the public hearing which will be held at the Kota Kinabalu High Court.
“We met today to finalise the list of witnesses and (look at) their relevance in our inquiry,” he told reporters after the panel met for their first meeting since their appointment on Sept 21.
Shim disclosed that since their appointment, they had set up an investigative team to identify witnesses for the inquiry into the illegal immigrant problem.
He said the investigative team had done a good job identifying witnesses who will give evidence at the public hearing.
He declined to reveal the witness list but urged “anyone who can give us relevant information” to “come forward to testify.”
Shim also rejected criticism that the RCI panel was dragging its feet on the issue.
“No delay … in fact our team of investigators have covered a substantial part in identifying witnesses.”
Six months target
On the limited time given to complete the inquiry, he said they were not worried as there were provisions for them to request an extension.
“Barring any complications, we hope to complete it within six months. Hopefully, we will be able to solve the problem (of illegal immigrants in the state),” he said
The RCI’s terms of reference empower the panel to determine the number of immigrants in Sabah that have been given Malaysian citizenship and if so whether the issuance of citizenship documents was legal.
The terms of reference stipulate that the panel can investigate the legality of the issuance of citizenship to immigrants in Sabah, verify if they are indeed holding blue identity cards or temporary identification receipts or citizenship documents had been illegally registered into the electoral rolls.
The panel can also investigate the reasons for the abnormal increase in Sabah’s population.
The other members of the panel are former Universiti Malaysia Sabah vice chancellor Kamaruzaman Ampon, former Sabah deputy chief minister and state attorney general Herman Luping, for state secretary KY Mustafa and Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation president Henry Chin.
The secretary of the panel is Saripuddin Kasim, who is also Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry secretary general.
My Say:
Finally, the RCI will begin to sit and all is now waiting for the result of their inquiry in June or July.

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