Malaysia

I quit because Home Ministry blocked IC probe, says Dompok

BY Mohd Farhan Darwis
June 22, 2013

The resignation of Tan Sri Bernard Dompok (pic) in 2007 as the chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity (PSCI) was because of a lack of cooperation from the Home Ministry.

The former Ranau MP told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) investigating illegal immigrants in Sabah yesterday that the reluctance of the ministry's officers to appear as witnesses and give statements to the PSCI, which he headed in 2006, was the reason for his resignation. The PSCI was investigating the issuance of identity cards in Sabah.

"Many officers refused to give their statements and I made the decision to resign, and also because I could not get any evidence from them."

Dompok told the RCI panel at the Kota Kinabalu High Court that he had tendered his resignation on May 16, 2007, because of a difference of opinion on the scope and functions of the PSC.

Referring also to the National Registration Department, Dompok said they had felt it was not fair to call only half-a-dozen departments for questioning.

"They appeared at first, but once the PSCI started operations, they begin to go absent. I was told it was on the instructions of the Home Ministry," Dompok told the panel, led by former Sabah and Sarawak Chief Judge Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong.

Later in his evidence, Dompok suggested to the RCI that Filipino war refugees who are currently in Sabah should be returned to the Philippines.

"The situation in the Philippines has changed, the war is over and it is a lot more peaceful and safer now."

Dompok, who is also the Upko president, said that if they did not send the war refugees back to the Philippines, then the alternative was to send the Filipinos to other states in Malaysia.

"If we send them to other states, do we want to share our country's wealth with them?"

He suggested that the IMM13 card should be cancelled as there was no longer any reason for the Filipino refugees to be in Malaysia as the war has ended.

The IMM13 card had been issued by the government to war refugees who arrived in Sabah in the 1980s as a form of identification document.

The RCI had been told that previously, Filipino war refugees had been given permanent identity cards and citizenship even though the legalities governing the use of the IMM13 document did not provide for that.

Asked about the social implications of sending the refugees back despite their long stay in Malaysia, Dompok said it was not an important issue. – June 22, 2013.