By Joseph Bingkasan
Free Malaysia Today
KUALA LUMPUR | Jan 30, 2013
Pro-opposition Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (APS) has taken state Umno deputy chief Salleh Said Keruak to task for being quick to criticise the opposition but not former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad who admitted his role in the citizenship-for votes scandal that has since rocked the state.
APS president Wilfred Bumburing said Mahathir openly confessed following shocking revelations during the ongoing Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) hearing but Salleh has chosen to ignore this and not challenged the former premier to testify and instead focused on Anwar Ibrahim.
“By not doing so [challenging Mahathir] I dare to say he [Salleh] condones the great injury that Mahathir has done to the people of Sabah.
“I also would like to ask Salleh what he had done during his tenure as the chief minister of Sabah to solve the illegal immigrant problem,” he said.
Following the disclosures by witnesses at the RCI’s first stretch of hearings, Anwar came out and declared that he is ready to testify if invited to do so by the RCI.
His willingness, meanwhile, has put pressure on Salleh and other former chief ministers including the present Chief Minister Musa Aman to testify before the RCI.
“All of them are duty-bound to help solve the problem. Those who refuse to do so imply that they are in cahoots with Mahathir’s misdeed,” Bumburing added.
Salleh has described those involved in the issuance of ICs to foreigners as traitors, saying that they deserved to be punished in accordance with the law of the country.
He, however, denied that Umno was involved in the “Project IC” but added that any individual from Umno found to be involved must be punished.
But Bumburing, a former Barisan Nasional man, has placed the blame squarely on Umno-led BN’s shoulders.
He said based on the RCI testimonies it is obvious now that the magnitude of the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah today is the result of a well-planned programme by the government under Mahathir.
“The problem was raised by the people of Sabah since the 80s but the federal government had taken a hardline position of denial,” Bumburing told FMT today.
The Tuaran MP pointed out that even the setting up of the RCI by the government was done reluctantly more than two decades after the situation was exposed.
He said even Mahathir has been tightlipped about the extraordinary growth of the state population and was only recently forced to admit that his Umno-led BN administration was responsible for the issuance of ICs to the illegal immigrants in Sabah.
Bumburing said by admitting his role, Mahathir stands accused of not only having betrayed the people of Sabah but also of having committed treason by failing to protect the sovereignty of Sabah within Malaysia.
“When his great misdeed was eventually exposed he scrambles for excuses and justification for his hideous act.
“He’s got the guts to say that his action is justified and that he acted according to the law,” Bumburing added.
He said now that the facts are “rolling out” from witnesses in the ongoing RCI hearings, the federal government is duty-bound to review all the ICs given illegally to prove whether Mahathir acted according to the law.
He also rapped Mahathir for equating his action to that of Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, who granted citizenship to a million people at independence.
“He [Mahathir] erred in his analogy because the granting of migrant population at the time of independence was the agreement between the various races and based on the social contract which the three major races agreed upon,” Bumburing said.
The MP added that Mahathir appeared to have also forgotten that even his father who was from India was a beneficiary of the agreement.
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