Just what was the administration of former PM Mahathir, especially his henchmen, up to in Sabah during the mid-1990s? Just as we suspected, a large number of foreigners were given identification documents so that they could vote in the state elections.
In a sense, most people aren’t really surprised as people had been talking about ‘Project M’ for years. But this is the first time such damning testimony has emerged in an official inquiry, specifically a Royal Commission of Inquiry. (Remember, Najib was forced to announce the RCI at a time when it was beginning to look like a few of Sabah’s elected reps could hop over to Pakatan.)
Mahathir says it is fine to give out ICs to foreigners who qualify. Nothing wrong with that. But were they fast-tracked? What about the so-called ‘temporary receipts’ that were distributed as identification documents? What was that all about?
And what about all the other stateless people in the peninsula who have resided in the country for a generation or more?
The big question now is, to what extent has this modus operandi been repeated across the country and for the coming election? If you recall, a string of constituencies, a number of them in Selangor, have seen significant unexplained increases in the number of voters since 2008.
From his sweeping privatisation policies to the cronyism and corruption in his administration to the undermining of democratic institutions not to forget the Bank Negara forex losses to the cynical manipulation of race and religion, the 22 years of Mahathir’s rule have been disastrous for the country.
Eleven years after he stepped down, we are still trying to shake ourselves off from the rotten legacy of Mahathirism.
This is a statement from Aliran exco member P Ramakrishnan.