While they are not surprised with Dr Mahathir's denial, they said it was inconceivable that the country's fourth prime minister had no knowledge of the matter especially since individuals close to him were implicated as well.
They pointed out the mass issuance of identity cards to immigrants has affected the Borneo state's sovereignty, prompting Sabah State Reform Party (STAR) chairman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan to describe it as "reverse ethnic cleansing" where foreigners are displacing natives in order for Umno to retain its control of the state.Testifying before the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah, Dr Mahathir said yesterday he had never heard of Project IC until recently nor had he given orders to issue ICs indiscriminately to illegal immigrants in Sabah.
"He didn't deny the existence of ICs being given indiscriminately to foreigners, he just denied knowledge of Project IC, which is just a label or name given by people," Kitingan told The Malaysian Insider.
He said there was no need for him to issue any instructions for illegal immigrants to be issued identity cards as it was done according to the laws which were already in place.
Dr Mahathir also said the government cannot be held responsible for immigrants being issued identity cards illegally, as they may have been issued the cards erroneously or it may have been the wrongdoing of certain low-ranking civil servants.
Sabah PKR chief Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin (pic) said Dr Mahathir was clearly lying as before the 13th general election, the latter admitted that some 200,000 Indonesian and Filipino immigrants who are Muslims have been given citizenship.
"At a function before the general election, he also explained to Pakatan Rakyat MPs and NGOs there is a mastermind behind Project IC," he said and called on Putrajaya to hunt down the person behind Project IC.
An incensed Sabah DAP chairman Jimmy Wong said Dr Mahathir did not have a conscience.
He said Dr Mahathir clearly had a hand in the issue since former Sabah National Registration Department (NRD) director Abdul Rauf Sani and former Tamparuli NRD chief Yakup Damsa had claimed Dr Mahathir's former political secretary Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin had allowed his house to be used by them to sign blue identity cards for illegal immigrants under Project IC.
Abdul Aziz had since denied the allegations and any knowledge of Project IC.
"Since he claimed no knowledge about this, then he can answer to God. You can deny everything but you cannot lie to God," Wong said. — September 12, 2013.
~ The Malaysian Insider