By Kim Quek | August 13, 2012
The Malaysian Insider
AUG 13 — Sabahans should reject the terms of reference of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants proposed by Prime Minister Najib Razak because they fail to address the issue of purging the state’s electoral roll of phantom voters.
The entire eight-item terms of reference are marked by hypocrisy and evasion of the real issues.
Item after item is centred on “whether” there are illegal identity cards or citizenship granted, and “whether” there are illegally registered voters in the electoral roll, when the whole world knows that the Sabah electoral roll is heavily infested with illegal immigrants who have been illegally registered as voters.
There is already abundance of incontrovertible evidence produced in court as well as in books recording details of clandestine campaigns to massively infuse these phantoms into the electoral roll so as to enable Umno to grab political power in Sabah; so why still keep up the pretence that such a phenomenon is an hypothesis that requires exhaustive investigations to establish its veracity?
Other items concentrate on the “standard operating procedure” of issuing ICs and citizenship to immigrants and its possible improvement, as well as the “social implication” arising from such issuance of ICs and citizenship.
Investigation of these issues will of course throw further light on a calamity that has plagued Sabahans for decades, but will it really relieve the heartache that has long been tormenting the suffering Sabahans?
CORE ISSUES LEFT OUT
Truth be told, Najib’s proposed realm of investigations is way off the mark. It misses the bull’s eye by a wide margin.
For instance, what about Sabahans’ democratic right to elect the government of their choice, which has been robbed from them by the massive presence of these phantom voters? Not a single word on cleansing the electoral roll in the proposed terms of reference.
And what about Sabahans’ social, economic and security plight arising from being apparently outnumbered by these immigrants? Also, not a word on measures to alleviate these predicaments which have reached crisis proportion.
Under the circumstances, one cannot help but wonder: is this RCI an ad-hoc election tactic to diffuse the mounting fury of Sabahans ahead of election or is it an act of contrition that signals a genuine change of heart by Umno to start treating Sabahans with decency and justice?
The answer is obvious, judging from Umno’s shameful history of callous disregard for the welfare of Sabahans, to the extent of virtually selling off their home land to foreigners, who have not only stripped Sabahans of their democratic rights through adulterating the electoral roll, but have also jeopardised Sabahans’ social and economic well being as well as threatening their very survival through sheer numerical superiority of the immigrants.
Knocking on the doors of Sabahans with this half-baked RCI package at this eleventh hour of an election is taken as election trickery. The general feeling is that “it is too little, too late”.
The only saving grace that I can think of for Najib to salvage Umno’s tattered image is for him to incorporate into terms of reference for the RCI measures to rectify the electoral roll as well as an agenda to alleviate current hardships which should include an orderly repatriation programme and measures to stop further influx of such immigrants.
SOVEREIGNTY NOT NEGOTIABLE
In view of the imminence of election, cleansing of electoral roll must be pushed through with the utmost urgency, for which an independent audit team of recognised integrity must be formed immediately to dig into the files in the NRD (National Registration Department) and the Election Commission to identify phantom citizens and phantom voters respectively, and have them purged. This auditing team will make regular progress reports to the RCI through public hearings.
On top of that, and as proof of Umno’s sincerity, Najib must give his solemn pledge that he will not call the next election until a properly cleansed electoral roll is completed for use in the polls.
Sovereignty of a free and independent people is a non-negotiable issue.
Umno must return sovereignty to the people of Sabah — before the election, not after; or face their wrath, which in all likelihood will result in Pakatan Rakyat taking over the rein of government by the next election.