By Boo Su-Lyn
KOTA KINABALU, Jan 16 — A former National Registration Department (NRD) official accused the late Tan Sri Megat Junid Megat Ayub of ordering him to issue NRD receipts enabling illegal immigrants in Sabah to vote in the 1994 state election.
Former Sabah NRD director Ramli Kamarudin said Megat Junid, then the deputy home affairs minister, had told him that the NRD receipts were to match the names and IC numbers of registered voters.
“We gave them (immigrants) RM20,” Ramli told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants here today.
“We teach them how to vote. We gather them in a house. We send them by bus to the polling stations. Then we send them back and we collect the receipts. The receipts are just for voting. We did not give them identity cards,” he added.
Ramli said that about 200 NRD receipts were issued in five or six state constituencies each in Sabah that were considered “black spots that were difficult for the government to win.”
“One area maybe 400,” he said.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister who was in power from 1981 to 2003, has been accused of spearheading the so-called “Project IC”, in which citizenships were allegedly given to immigrants in exchange for their votes.
But former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh, who administered the state from 1976 to 1985, denied yesterday the existence of “Project IC”.
The 1994 state election saw Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) winning just 25 out of 48 state assembly seats.
But several PBS MPs defected to Barisan Nasional (BN) shortly after, causing the collapse of the PBS government.
Ramli said today that he was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) from 1995 to 1997.
He also denied receiving bribes.
“This was a direct order from the deputy home affairs minister himself, even though I admit that it was illegal,” said Ramli.
He added that the directive was given at a meeting with Megat Junid, Umno’s Datuk Seri Osu Sukam (who later became the Sabah chief minister in 1999) and an NRD registration officer called Asli Sidup, at Hyatt Hotel here two weeks before the 1994 state election.
“The receipts were strictly for voting. After that, we would collect the receipts and destroy them,” said Ramli.
Asli testified later that 200 NRD receipts were used in the Kawang state constituency in the 1994 state election, which Osu won by a mere 64 votes.
The inquiry before RCI chairman Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong resumes tomorrow.