Monday, November 26, 2012

Project IC

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Project IC is the name used in Malaysia 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 alleged practice is centered in the state of Sabah in East Malaysia. The term is used mainly by the media as well as other political commentators and the general public. Another term used is Project M,[1] where "M" stood forMahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister of Malaysia due to his being allegedly involved in the spearheading of this project.[2][3] The alleged object of Project IC is to alter the demographic pattern of Sabah to make it more favorable to the ruling government and certain political parties, especially with regards to changing the electoral voting patterns.
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. However, there were also allegations of mass immigration andnaturalization of migrants in the 1970s under the United Sabah National Organization (USNO) government, and in the early 1980s under BERJAYA government.[4] On a nationwide scale, illegal immigration is a major social issue. The problem is linked with alleged phantom voters also seen in other parts of Malaysia during elections.




Sabah together with SarawakSingapore, and Malaya together formed the federation of Malaysia on September 16, 1963. Sabah was multiracial state with no clear majority race, but with the Kadazandusun as the largest ethnic group. Unlike other states in Peninsular Malaysia, the majority of natives or bumiputras in Sabah are non-Muslims. In 1960, the state comprised:[4]
Based on this ethnic composition, the Kadazandusun dominated the political scene and the first chief minister appointed was Tun Fuad Stephens, a Kadazandusun. Tun Fuad played an important role in the negotiations involving the independence of Sabah together with Tun Mustapha, a Bajau. After the formation, Tun Mustapha was made governor (Yang di-Pertua Negeri). Subsequent to this, various political parties, mostly racially-based, took turns in helming government. Tun Mustapha's United Sabah National Organization (USNO) took control of the state in 1967. The mainly Bajau Muslim party relied on Muslim votes in elections. Similarly for other Kadazan-based party or Chinese-based party, who rely on votes from their respective communities. Later, BERJAYA took control of the state. This party was more multiracial in its composition of member, but was headed by Muslim leaders such as Harris Salleh. There had been allegations of mass naturalization of illegal immigrants during the tenure of Tun Mustapha and Harris Salleh including the deliberate classification of immigrants under the name pribumi during the reign of BERJAYA.[5] There was even one instance of Harris Salleh openly admitting to carrying out and planning to overwhelm the demography of Sabah in favor of Muslims.[4] Meanwhile on a national level, politics were dominated by UMNO, a Malay-based party. Both USNO and BERJAYA had worked closely with UMNO at certain points in history. In 1985, a largely Kadazandusun party, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), won in the state election that year. The 1986 Sabah riots ensued in shortly after the results were announced to bring down the party president, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, as chief minister. In 1990, BERJAYA and USNO, decided to dissolve their party and form the Sabah chapter of UMNO. This party relied on membership from Muslim citizens of Sabah, be they Bajau, SulukBugis, or others. The practice of naturalizing immigrants was further intensified to guarantee their dominance in Sabah. They realised a great potential in altering the demography in their favor since most immigrants into Sabah were Muslims from Indonesia and southern Philippines. Later in 1994, UMNO managed to get hold of the government despite losing in the elections that year. In 2006, the estimated ethnic composition of Sabah are as follows:[6]
  • 25% Non-citizens,
  • 17.76% Kadazandusuns,
  • 14.62% Other Bumiputras,
  • 13.4% Bajaus,
  • 11.48% Malays,
  • 9.6% Chinese,
  • 4.8% Others,
  • 3.3% Muruts.
Project IC is not so concerned with the 25% of non-citizens as this denotes immigrants without Malaysian ICs. The main point of contention when comparing the statistics for 1960 and 2006 is with regards to the sharp increase of "Malays", as well as the large number of "Other Bumiputras". There is also the significant drop in the percentage of the non-Muslim population, namely, Kadazandusuns, Muruts, and Chinese. After Barisan Nasional regained power in 1994, the rotation system was introduced, whereby the chief minister's post is rotated among the representatives of the three different communities in Sabah, namely, the Muslim Bumiputras, Non-Muslim Bumiputras, and the Chinese. However, after 2005, BN decided to do away with the rotation system, giving the post to UMNO's representative, led by current chief ministerMusa Aman.