KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 — DAP's Lim Kit Siang today demanded former Sabah leader Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan explain publicly what he did for four years as the chairman of the Working Committee on the Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) investigating the state's longstanding problem with undocumented immigrants who were granted citizenship in return for votes.
The Iskandar Puteri MP attributed Pairin's rise to be Sabah chief minister in 1985 and subsequent fall a decade later to the large-scale scheme conferring Malaysian citizenship to illegal immigrants in exchange for their votes to the then ruling party, widely known as Project IC.
"If not for the nightmare of the illegal immigrants on the electoral rolls, Joseph Pairin would not have been forced out as Chief Minister, and at least half a dozen of Sabah Chief Ministers who subsequently occupied the high office would not be Sabah Chief Ministers," Lim said in a statement.
Lim raised questions on some 5,000 pages said to be missing from the RCI report, noting that they supposedly contained detailed memoranda, notes of evidence, statutory declarations, and exhibits on the issue.
"Did the Working Committee on the RCI Report have access to these 5,000 missing pages?
"Another question for Joseph Pairin is why nobody knows what the Working Committee on the RCI Report had done? What had the Working Committee on the RCI Report under Joseph Pairin achieved?" he asked.
The veteran federal Opposition politician also said Pairin's brother, current Deputy Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan should also clear the air on the issue.
"Jeffrey said in February that the illegal immigrants had 'slipped under our radar', and the authorities had no idea where the illegal immigrants were, who they were or what they were up to — exposing the Malaysian citizens to security threats as well as health hazards.
"Has Joseph’s committee resolved the nightmare of Sabah?" Lim asked.
Sabah's decades-old flood of immigrants who were conferred citizenship in exchange for voting in the then ruling party revived last week with the arrest of a local politician linked to a syndicate.
Last week, police busted a syndicate run by Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS) leader Mohd Arshad Abdul Mualap, which Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said had offered forged documents to foreigners that awarded them Malaysian identity cards.
Mohd Arshad and another man known as Mohd Amkah were charged with fraud under Section 420 of the Penal Code at the High Court in Shah Alam, Selangor on June 30.
Sabah politician Mohd Arshad had run against Umno's Tan Sri Musa Aman who was at that time the incumbent chief minister for the Sungai Sibuga state seat in the 2013 general election.
PPRS had also partnered the United Sabah Alliance — comprising Sabah Progressive Party, Sabah Star, and Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah — for the 2018 general election.