KOTA KINABALU : “The immediate response by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) in their initial investigations on fake Native certificates and Native certificates which are dubiously issued to unqualified persons have been spot on and exemplary” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan.
The Sabah STAR Chief was commenting on reports that initial investigations have resulted in 18 arrests and admissions of use of falsely obtained native certificates, in a statement today.
This came on the heel of the arrest of the non-native holder of a purported Native certificate owning some 300 native titles and ASN investments of more than RM7 million.
While MACC’s actions have been exemplary and most commendable, no stones should be left unturned in their investigations.
The Bingkor assemblyman said, the results have certainly opened the eyes of the authorities and the people to a long outstanding issue swept under the carpet by the Sabah government since the 1980s with little action taken.
In fact, the Sabah government should be thankful to MACC for their efforts in investigating and helping them resolve the fake and dubiously issued native certificates.
If MACC can go all the way in their investigations, it could totally verify the genuineness of all certificates issued by the Native Chiefs and weed out fake certificates as well as certificates genuinely issued but to unqualified persons.
Jeffrey also suggested, perhaps to expedite investigations and widen the scope of resolving fake and dubiously obtained certificates, MACC could offer amnesty to all who voluntarily surrender their falsely obtained certificates.
In the meantime, it is unlawful for the Sabah government to continue the freeze on issuance of native certificates enforced since 1982.
The law on native certificates is clear and should be implemented especially to qualified natives who need the certificate to confirm and re-affirm their native status.
If wayward officers have issued native certificates dubiously, action should be taken to overcome the abuse and manipulation. Freezing of issuance of native certificates is not the lawful or right solution.
The problem of native status could be resolved easily with the issuance of the Sabah IC. When the Sabah government issues this Sabah IC, confirmation of native status could be included in its microchip identification data details.
Then, native status is available at each person’s fingertips with a reading of the Sabah IC without having to carry any native certificate.
MACC will be doing the Sabah government a big favour if it can widen its investigations and resolve the fake and falsely obtained native certificates mess in Sabah.
Simultaneously, the Sabah government should set-up a special investigation unit to assist MACC and to widen the investigations to resolve the mess once and for all.
With its experience in investigating the fake and dubious native certificates, MACC should next step in to investigate fake ICs and MyKads issued not in accordance with the law and illegal voters entered into the EC electoral rolls as conclusively established in the RCI Report.
This will certainly assist in restoring some of the credibility of the NRD and Election Commission.