A royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into Sabah’s prolonged illegal migrants issue will “not do anything at all”, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says.
Asked about this by reporters today, Mahathir said that the exercise would be futile, for the government would be in trouble regardless of the outcome of the RCI.
“If the findings fall in favour of the government, the opposition will say it’s manipulated and if it is against, the government will get it in the neck,” he said.
Mahathir, who is accused of playing a part in an allegedly politically-motivated naturalisation drive for foreigners starting in the 1990s, added that many of the illegal migrants have been in Sabah long enough to qualify for Malaysian citizenship.
Whether or not they are granted citizenship, he added, is up to the government to decide.
“I am accused of bringing these migrants in. I didn’t have to, they all came themselves...
“I hope there won’t be any efforts to now ship them out as we did that once and they all came back,” he said after attending a Perdana Global Peace Foundation event to commemorate the sending of half a million 1.5 litre bottles of clean water to Gaza, Palestine..
'Opposition unprepared to rule'
Elaborating on his blog posting justifying the Sabah population boom, he said historically, the border between southern Philippines and then-British North Borneo was not well recognised.
“People used to go back and forth and so these are not foreigners but people who feel they are in a better position in Sabah and so stayed there for a long time,” he said.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is due to be in Sabah tomorrow, and is speculated to announce the much-awaited terms of reference for the RCI on illegal migrants there.
Meanwhile, commenting on Pakatan Rakyat’s state-specific National Day themes, Mahathir said it only showed how unprepared the opposition is to rule the country.
“It shows they don’t know what they are doing... but that’s normal for the opposition,” he quipped.