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Bomb scare disrupts Sabah RCI hearings

The A-G's Chambers said ex-detainees under the Internal
Security Act 1960 would also be called on matters
related to the issuance of identification documents.
KOTA KINABALU: A rumoured bomb scare brought to an abrupt halt the first day of the much- awaited Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) public hearing on illegal immigrants in Sabah.
On the advice of the police, RCI chief Steve Shim suspended the inquiry held at the High Court here at 2.45pm.
Commission secretary Saripuddin Kassim had conveyed to the panel the police advice.
Shim told everyone present that the hearing had to be stopped “due to some emergency”.
At that time the third witness was giving evidence. At 3.05pm, the police bomb disposal unit arrived. The court complex was cordoned off and traffic was halted along part of Jalan Pantai running in front of the court complex.
The police combed the premises and the surrounding areas for any suspicious-looking object, but found nothing.
Earlier this morning, Shim set the tone of the hearing when he read out the terms of reference of the inquiry which was to enquire, among others, the number of immigrants in Sabah who had received blue identification cards (IC) or citizenship, whether the issuance of the ICs or citizenship was in accordance with the law, whether the immigrants who held the blue ICs, temporary identification receipt (blue) citizenship illegally had been registered as voters, and the reasons for the increase in Sabah’s population.
Bernama reported that Manoj Kurup, Azmi Ariffin and Jamil Aripin of the Attorney-General’s
Chambers have been appointed as conducting officers to assist the commission in questioning the witnesses.
In his opening statement, Manoj said the conducting officers would first adduce evidence from a historical perspective from witnesses who have expertise in history and anthropology.
He said witnesses from various government departments such as the National Registration Department, the Immigration Department, the Election Commission, the Statistics Department, and the Sabah State Chief Minister’s Office would be called to testify.
Manoj said ex-detainees under the Internal Security Act 1960 would also be called on matters related to the issuance of identification documents.
He said evidence would also be gathered from individuals from several countries like the Philippines, India, Pakistan and Indonesia, who were in possession of various documents used for identification like the 1MM-13, entry permits, green and blue ICs.
Permanent residents and even citizens will also be quizzed on how they came into possession of their identification documents or how they obtained their present status, he said, adding that evidence gathered by politicians and authors would also be sought.
On social implications resulting from the issuance of identification cards or citizenship to immigrants, he said the conducting officers also planned to call witnesses from various agencies such as the police, the Prisons Department, the Health Department, and the Education Department.

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