BY MOHD FARHAN DARWIS
Malaysian identity cards were issued to foreign migrants who worked at a logging camp in Kinabatangan, while some others collected theirs at a coffee shop in Kota Kinabalu, the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah heard today.
Mameng Saleng, 63, who was born in Sulawesi, Indonesia, told the five-man RCI panel he had received his identity card while working with a logging company. His supervisor had offered the workers citizenship.
"In 1983, the manager asked me whether I wanted a Malaysian IC and I agreed at once," Mameng told the RCI panel led by former Sabah and Sarawak Chief Judge Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong.
Mameng, who entered Sabah in 1981, admitted that all the documents related to the identity card were filled at the logging camp, although he still needed to go to the National Registration Department.
"I took a picture of myself, filled up all the forms at the camp, no testimonial was required. At that time, there were two men whom I did not recognise, handling the issuance of the IC," he said, adding the entire process took about two months.
Mameng only had to pay RM150. He has never failed to vote in every general election since then.
Another witness, Ahmad Soso, 53, admitted that he received his IC at a coffee shop in Kota Kinabalu after meeting a man of Bugis descent.
Ahmad, also born in Sulawesi, said he and his friends only had to pay RM10 stamp duty each to obtain their ICs. They did not have to go to the NRD.
He said the entire process was done at the man's house, including filling the application forms and taking their fingerprints. "He asked us how many people were applying, then we filled up the forms and he took our fingerprints," said Ahmad, a labourer at a botanical garden in Ranau.
After three months, the ICs were ready and Ahmad picked them up from a coffeeshop.
Ahmad, who is a registered voter, also told the RCI panel that except for 1990, when his voting centre was in Kudat, he had always voted since getting his IC. - July 2, 2013.