Hazlan Zakaria, Malaysiakini
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was directly involved in the project to issue citizenship and identity cards to unqualiified immigrants Sabah in the 90s, though without orders from him, claims former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed.
"He normally takes the initiative and sometimes does more (than is required)," Mahathir told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.
"What happens on the ground is often different from the directive (from above)."
Mahathir said Anwar (right) and the implementing officers on site in Sabah at the time took matters into their own hands and were not necessarily following instructions from the chain of command.
The veteran politician noted that the government had taken action against those officers involved.
He was asked to comment whether he ever ordered Anwar, then his deputy, to issue ICs to unqualified immigrants in Sabah.
"He had a hand in it," alleged Mahathir adding that what happened may have included illegal action and abuse of process.
The former PM added that while he may not have evidence that could be adduced in court, he "has knowledge" of the possible wrongdoings by Anwar.
Asked how a strong prime minister of a strong government like his could have a deputy and underlings running around not following orders, Mahathir said that even if Superman is a prime minister, he will be hard pressed to be able to look at everything.
He said that he would testify before the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into illegal immigrants in Sabah if called.
"I'll stick to the facts," assured Mahathir.
Allegations of Anwar's involvement in handling the Sabah situation ran rampant when the opposition politicians began to call for an RCI into the immigrant situation in the state.
State BN leaders immediately came out decrying Anwar as the one behind such sheenanigans when he was Mahathir's deputy, though the allegations were downplayed by the opposition leader.
However, both sides agreed that an RCI was needed. Bipartisan pressure made possible the ongoing hearings into allegations that unqualified immigrants were handed out citizenships and ICs by those seeking electoral support from the grateful, newly-made citizens.