SABAH RCI Cases of identity card forgery are rampant in Sabah, with at least one forgery discovered every two weeks, Sabah National Registration Department director Ismail Ahmad said today.

Such forgery is not just confined to the MyKad, but also involves the older versions of the blue identity card, Ismail told the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on immigrants in Sabah
at the Kota Kinabalu court complex.

NONE"I don't remember the exact numbers, but almost every two weeks there will be cases of people being caught with forged identity cards," he said.

However, Ismail (left) said, the forged identity cards had nothing to do with NRD and were produced by syndicates.

These days, he added, it was impossible to illegally obtain a genuine blue identity card from the NRD.

"I guarantee that there is no way it can happen, the work is all computerised now," he said.

Ismail said all blue identity card applicants must have birth certificates to prove their citizenship.

'Woes began in 1978'

He conceded that Sabah's woes in this area began in 1978, when genuine blue identity cards were illegally obtained from the NRD.

That year, he said, other than birth certificates, the NRD also accepted statutory declarations as a prerequisite document of evidence that one was born in Sabah for the issue of blue identity cards. 

"At that time, many Sabahans in the interiors did not have birth certificates, so we accepted declarations signed by village heads and verified by the district officer.

"This was the best way to help those in the interiors to get identity cards, but there was abuse of power, so in 1987 such declarations were no longer accepted," Ismail said.

He added that action was also taken against those who abused flaws in the system.

The acceptance of statutory declarations for the issue of blue identity cards was abused by foreigners by swearing that they were born in Sabah, thereby qualifying them for citizenship.

'Expiry date ICs were green cards'

On another matter, Ismail clarified that the circulation of pictures of blue identity cards with expiry dates on them on the Internet were in fact green cards or temporary residence cards.

"The green card expires every five years and must be renewed," he said.

Ismail explained that between 2004 and 2006, the colour of the MyKad was the same, unlike now where these are green for temporary residents, red for permanent residents and blue for citizens.

All of the cards then were blue but had markers on them to indicate the type of card they were, he said.

"This caused a lot of confusion, so in 2006 we made the temporary residence card green in colour. The permanent resident card was also changed to red and blue colour was only for citizens," Ismail said.

He said this in response to claims that the temporary MyKad, with an expiry date, was supposedly issued for the purpose of allowing foreigners to vote in a general election.