RCI key witness dies

By Yiswaree Palansamy

A former Umno grassroots leader and a key witness in the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) who had been exposing the controversial "Project IC" in Sabah, died yesterday.

Abdul Mutalib Mohd Daud, 51, is believed to have suffered a stroke.

He was an activist who authored books highlighting the project, which generally lashed out at former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He alleged that Dr Mahathir started the programme to give identity cards to foreigners in exchange for votes.

The activist's writings and research on the subject has already been raised several times during the course of the RCI investigation. But, he has died before he could testify in court in person.

Before Mutalib's passing two days before the sixth session of the RCI inquest tomorrow, the former politician had already testified against former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh last week at the defamation trial of PKR leader Chong Eng Leong.

Harris is suing Chong for RM50 million for accusing him of being involved in the Project IC or "Project M", as it is also known.

In the Sabah RCI inquest, eight terms of reference were outlined, including to enquire into the number of immigrants in Sabah who had been issued blue identification cards or citizenship and whether the move was in compliance with the law.

More than 100 witnesses have been called to testify since its first five-day hearing, which begun on January 14. The RCI panel has  been given six months to complete its investigation. - June 30, 2013.