Published on: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Penampang: Component parties from both the Barisan Nasional and opposition Pakatan Rakyat feel former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his once deputy Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should be called in by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to defend themselves over accusations linking them to the granting of Malaysian citizenship to illegal immigrants in Sabah.
"I think it is best that both be allowed to defend themselves at the ongoing hearing of RCI on illegal immigrant in Sabah and tell the RCI what they know about the accusation and counter accusation," said Upko President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.
"The only appropriate way for them to clarify (their roles) is by appearing before the Commission," he told Daily Express.
Dompok, who is also Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister and Penampang MP, was asked to comment on the accusations between Dr Mahathir and opposition leader Anwar over alleged involvement in "Operation Durian Buruk" (Ops rotten durian) regarding the issue.
Both have expressed willingness to testify before the RCI should they be called to do so.
When contacted by Daily Express, RCI Secretary Datuk Saripuddin Kasim declined comment.
In LABUAN, DAP Chairman Lau Seng Kiat, said the RCI findings would be incomplete if it does not call up both.
"This is in order to get the 'full story' behind the immigrant population explosion in Sabah," he said.
He said it is likely that the current hearing would be the only one commissioned to look into this issue and, therefore, it should not leave any stones unturned.
"Besides, one of the key so-called ringleaders (Datuk Megat Junid, the ex-Deputy Home Minister) has since died but others mentioned are late into their years. So, its now or never.
"The investigation would then be more comprehensive and when the inquiry is completed there would be no more missing pieces in Sabah's jigsaw puzzle," Lau said.
He added that apart from Dr Mahathir and Anwar, top officials like ex-Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ahmad Sarji should also be summoned to find out what they knew about "Operation Durian Buruk."
It was during Dr Mahathir's administration that Sabah's population swelled substantially, especially following the PBS pullout from BN in 1990.
Dr Mahathir defended his decisions saying that he had acted legally just like first PM Tunku Abdul Rahman who had granted citizenships to one million Chinese and Indian immigrants at the time of Malaysia's independence.
Anwar, on the other hand, has denied any involvement, saying it was not discussed by the Cabinet.
He also said it was not him who set up the Special Task Force (STF) in the first place.
Lau said since both Dr Mahathir and Anwar have expressed willingness to appear before the panel the public may be disappointed if the RCI decides not to.
"Conclusions could only be made after the full picture of the issue was known.
The RCI should go beyond scratching the top layers," said Lau.
Regarding comments that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib should be applauded for establishing RCI, Lau said the applause may be in order only when the findings were completed and the solutions that have been suggested are taken up.