Son of ‘Project M’ speaks

Jan 22, 07 3:42pm
A Filipino man has admitted to being a Malaysian citizen since the eighties because of ‘Project M’, a programme allegedly run by the government to pad Sabah’s electoral roll.According to a Bernama report, Fuad Ariff came to Sabah in the mid-seventies with his parents. They had stayed in Pulau Mantanani before settling in a village in Menggatal.

The report received prominent coverage in Sabah dailies yesterday as this is the first time a migrant has come forward to confirm the existence of the controversial programme also known as ‘Project IC’.

True. Project IC exists. I secured my IC from the project in the early 1980s,” said Fuad, who hailed from Pulau Tawi-Tawi, Philippines. 

“After living here for several years, I finally received my Malaysian IC (identity card) in 1984. At that time, a middleman came to our village to distribute the cards. 

“I still remember the middleman coming to every house in the village to fill up forms for the IC and collect RM10 for stamp duty. One of the documents used to support the IC application was the late birth certificate registration letters,” he added. 

He said once the ICs were ready, the middleman would return to the village to distribute the cards to the villagers. 

Better future 

Fuad, who speaks fluent Bahasa Melayu, said his family believed they would have a better future in Sabah compared to their island in the Philippines. 

“There is no unrest here. We are free to roam anywhere we want. We can go to Tanjung Aru, Mount Kinabalu or Kota Kinabalu,” he added. 

It is alleged that there are 1.7 million foreigners in Sabah, including 600,000 with identification cards issued under Project M, compared to 1.5 million genuine locals. 

Last year, former senator Dr Chong Eng Leong told a parliamentary select committee on integrity that illegal immigrants outnumberedthe locals in Sabah.

He later told malaysiakini that the Sabah electoral roll is ‘padded‘ with foreigners who obtained their ICs through this controversial programme.

However, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz denied this. 

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