Published on: Sunday, August 18, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: Former Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Mohd Salleh said Saturday he is ready to rebut any allegations made against him in the ongoing Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah, "but that there is nothing to rebut if they are wild statements".
Instead, he said, some of those who testified should be charged with perjury or for lying under oath. He said he had officially sent a written a response to the Commission Chairman Tan Sri Steve Shim and members of the Commission via Poslaju.
According to him, much of what transpired in the hearings were not corroborated nor were the witnesses subjected to any cross-examination.
Referring to the claims about him (Harris) made by Hassanar Ebrahim, a former ISA detainee, when testifying before the RCI on Friday, he said there was no question of him declining to take the stand to rebut the claims, as reported. "That was far from the truth."
In fact, Harris said, he was at the courthouse from 8.30am that day as he was summoned to be there until about 12pm. He said he was asked to be at the waiting room, adding his summons was from Aug. 15 to Aug. 16. However, later he was told to come at 8.30am on Aug. 16 whereas the sitting only started at 9.30am.
He said about 11.30am, RCI conducting officer Manoj Kurup came into the waiting room and there was an officer by the name of Kuhairi from the Commission talking with him.
Harris said Kurup told him he was free to decide whether to rebut or not and then briefed him in front of the officer and asked for the door to be closed.
He said Kurup repeated what Hassanar had said in his testimony and briefly as follows:
"You (Harris) arrange a meeting of leaders at his house and brief what transpired between you and Tun Mahathir. He said you asked him and Datuk Yahya Lampong to go to see Tan Sri Megat Junid.'
"Hassanar also claimed he was given 31,000 copies of the application forms by Tan Sri Megat Junid. Hassanar also claimed that you told him there were already 138,000 identity cards issued.'
In response, Harris said he then asked Kurup whether Hassanar was asked to prove his general statements and that Kurup did not answer.
He also asked Kurup whether the President of Tawau Municipal Council, Ismail Mayakob, could prove the claim that more than 40 per cent of Tawau's population now comprised foreigners.
"I wanted to know if the Commission asked Ismail whether he
i) had conducted a survey?
ii) regarded that those people given ICs over the years are foreigners?
iii) Who was the Malay population of Tawau 100 years ago?"
He said after Kurup briefed him, he (Kurup) once again asked him whether he wanted to rebut Hassanar's statement and he responded saying there was nothing to respond to such general statements.
"What Hassanar said was untrue. Just take the 31,000 application forms claimed by Hassanar that Megat Junid gave him. The Commission should ask Hassanar
i) Did you collect the forms from Megad Junid's house or his office;
ii) How many kilos were the forms - 100 to 200kg?
iii) Who paid for the air freight?
iv) Do you agree you were only given few hundred copies of the form at that time?" said Harris.
Harris again maintained there was no "Project IC" and, if any, all was done through the normal channel.
"Therefore the statement by Mat Swardi Awi that he masterminded the Project IC was also not true.
"Tun Mahathir did not need a Master Mind to carry out and implement a Federal Government Policy to give Identity Cards as the Federal Government deems fit," said Harris.
He said Dr Mahathir, by invoking Federal Government policy to grant citizenships to those foreigners and refugees had all the Federal Government machinery behind him.
"Common sense dictates that Dr Mahathir did not need an ex-banker who was at that point of time in the wilderness looking for opportunity. Therefore, Mat Swadi's claims were complete lies.
"All ICs were processed and issued by the Registration Department.
Papers are completed to whatever the department's requirements," said Harris.
Harris further said he noticed in the papers "many statements made to the Commission which were false".
"The Commission must investigate these thoroughly and if found not true they should be charged for perjury as in other countries.
"Hassanar was the first witness. What he said to the Commission, especially all his statements, were not in my presence.
These statements were not substantiated by facts or corroboration, so it is not expected to be rebutted by anyone," said Harris.
Similarly, he said, to the claim made by Mat Swadi Awi that he masterminded the project IC.
"If this statement were taken as a fact by the Commission then this would exonerate the claim that Tun Mahathir or Harris or others were masterminds or main movers of the IC project," said Harris.
Harris said he is ever willing to testify before the Commission again and it can call him at anytime and any day.
However, he will only rebut those statements.