KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that ICs given to immigrants in Sabah, in hope that they will support BN, had actually voted for the opposition.
"Not all the immigrants who got ICs supported BN -- most of them supported the opposition. Otherwise, why BN lost their election in Sabah during Pairin (Kitingan)?" he asked.
"They have a right to vote who they like, we don't force them."
He was commenting on allegations by opposition members that BN had bought votes by giving ICs to immigrants in Sabah just before the election in 1994.
He also stated that he should not be made liable for anything that happened on the ground due to the granting of citizenships.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had accused Mahathir as responsible for actions by the task force that was set up under his tenure to grant IC to immigrants.
Mahathir said that citizenships should be given to those who have lived here for a certain length of time and are qualified.
However, he said the actions of the task force in carrying out his orders are beyond him.
"What happened on the ground, I can't be responsible," he said.
Mahathir was speaking to reporters after launching the coffee table book titled Antarctica: Malaysia's Journey to the Ice at the Research Management and Innovation Complex, University of Malaya.