In the face of denials by the Election Commission and the National Registration Department on irregularities in voter registrations and the issuing of citizenship to illegals, one has to wonder; what would have happened if no-one had taken the time to check on the registration listings and the status of citizenship of certain people?
Would the irregularities have gone unnoticed? And if they have been irregular practices – how long have they been in place?
Does this not smell of the infamous Project IC of the 1990s?
Again, it began with UMNO
Project IC is the name used to describe the allegation of systematic granting of citizenship to immigrants (whether illegal or legal immigrants) by giving them identity documents known as IC (identity card), and subsequently, MyKad.
The project is a complex matter involving certain political parties as well as various government agencies including the Election Commission of Malaysia, the National Registration Department and the Immigration Department, which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The suspicions and allegations on the existence of Project IC began around the mid-1990s.
The project, in its widespread and intensive form, is suspected to have begun in the early 1990s after the entry of United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) into Sabah politics.
Throughout the 1990s, several government officers were arrested under the Internal Security Act for their involvement in Project IC. A Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity was set up to hear testimonies of some of the detainees in February 2007. The committee was chaired by Sabah Member of Parliament Bernard Dompok. On May 16, 2007, Dompok quit as chairman of the committee over disagreements on the function and scope of the committee, in particular, over the refusal of the National Registration Department to appear before the committee. Later on, the findings of the committee was never made public.
Has a rehashed Project IC been reborn and using the latest technology to aid it?
Some wait a lifetime, others need only 4 hours
In the case of the individual called Mismah, who had her PR status upgraded to Full Citizenship in the space of four hours, Election Commission head Abdul Aziz Yusof attributed the problem to technical negligence.
Elaborating on the issue, he said he had contacted the NRD and was told that its online database had not been updated alongside the Agency Link-Up System (ALIS).
“(It was only) when I called (them) that they realised they have not updated the names online,” Abdul Aziz added.
The NRD online database – used by the public to verify their status and details – is different from ALIS, which is the reference point for the EC in registering voters, he said.
If the NRD only knew that their online databases were not updated when the EC chairman called them, what were their ICT staff doing the whole time before the phone call?
And the EC explanation does not explain how Mismah could have her status changes within the same day during a four hour span. The changes to Mismah status were made before the call by the EC chairman to NRD. Thus, the ICT team was updating its record before the call. Does this mean that the main database had already had the changes made, and thus, this database has different information as compared to the online databases?
How many more are there?
And how many more Mismahs do we have? The records held by the NRD are now a point of contention? How sure are we that the information contained within the NRD databases are credible and true?
And with the impending use of the biometric system by the EC, one still wonders; how sure are we that the biometric information is coming from the correct database and how correct will the data be?
The legalisation of immigrants also uses biometrics as a means of registration, and this database of immigrants may be far more complete than the NRD or EC databases. Yet, even this to is looked upon suspiciously. How sure are we that the records from the Immigration Department’s databases will not make its way into the NRD databases?
Bear in mind, the EC still has to collect finger-print information of current and existing voters. The easiest method is to tap into the NRD database but not all those registered in the NRD database are registered voters.
Citizens still have to register to vote and a vetting process still has to be complied with. Thus, there will be a lot of activity to update and keep current the databases under the control of the EC, how sure are we that during this period of activity, manipulated information does not makes its way in?
The EC assertion that everything is transparent and clean is a farce. The EC must now convince the public that their right, as citizens of Malaysia, is not tainted nor super-ceded by the needs of a ruling government desperate to stay in power and willing to do anything to accomplish the task – even to the point of selling citizenships to illegals in order to buy votes.