Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Nasir Sakaran has refuted the claim by a Sabah opposition leader that the National Registration Department (NRD) had issued about 40,000 birth certificates to the children of illegal immigrants in Semporna on the state’s east coast.
The birth certificates were alleged to have been issued during a (birth registration) mobile operation by the NRD in the area.
Nasir said the allegation was not true and aimed only at poisoning the people’s minds against the ruling government and to gain support for the opposition in the coming general election.
“The allegaton is not true as the 40,000 birth certificates were the estimated number issued by the NRD to locals in the whole state.
“During the mobile registration exercise in the east coast area five months or more ago, only 1,000 birth certificates were issued and these were for locals,” he told reporters after the closing of the state-level National Language Month 2012, here, today.
On Dec 8, chairman of the Sabah Reform Alliance Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin was quoted as claiming that about 40,000 birth certificates were issued to the children of illegals in Semporna in the past and called on the relevant authorities to tackle the issue.
Nasir, who is also the minister in charge of foreign immigrant affairs in Sabah, hoped that with his (Nasir’s) explanation, the issue would no longer be politicised “as though the government is not careful in the process of documentation”.
“If we want to state something, let it be based on facts. Don’t simply make assumptions or accusations.
“Don’t create issues to cause public confusion. If we bring up issues, let it be constructive and give hope to the people,” he said.
On the issuing of red identity cards in Sabah, Nasir said this country had laws that must be obeyed before citizenship could be granted to a red identity card holder.
“The government does not simply give (citizenship). There are procedures to be followed and implemented according to the law.”
Asked whether the Sabah government was prepared to give its views during the public hearing conducted by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the issue of illegals in Sabah, expected to begin in January, Nasir said the state government was willing to cooperate in resolving the issue for the good of all.