By Boo Su-Lyn
KOTA KINABALU, Jan 15 — More than a quarter of Sabah’s population are foreigners, a statistician told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants here today.
Sabah Department of Statistics director Norezan Wahid said today that there were 889,000 foreigners out of a 3.2 million-strong population in Sabah, about 28 per cent, based on a 2010 census.
“We don’t specify whether they are legal or non-legal,” said Norezan at the RCI today.
He added that census-takers did not have the authority to ask people to show documents proving that they were citizens.
“In the census, we ask two questions, whether you are a citizen or not,” he said.
National Registration Department (NRD) deputy director of the citizenship division, Nik Norashikin Nik Mansur, said that 66,682 people in Sabah received Malaysian citizenship from 1964 to October 2012.
She added that 38,000 were from Malaysia, 13,000 from China, 7,000 from Indonesia, while the rest were from the Philippines, Hong Kong and other countries.
“Why Malaysia is the highest number is because they were born in Malaysia and they don’t have any other country of origin. So, their country of origin is stated as Malaysia,” said Nik Norashikin.
Nik Norashikin, who wore a purple headscarf, said that the home minister was the final authority when it came to issuing citizenship.
She added that citizenship certificates were kept in the record management centre in the NRD.
“We have records in the system, but they are incomplete as they are from 2003 till now. The ones before that are in physical form and are still being keyed into the system,” she said.
The inquiry, which is chaired by former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong, resumes tomorrow.