Indonesian national Yuhanis Bira, who was issued with a blue identity card within six years of arriving in Sabah, said the IC was given to him on condition he supports the then government.
The 57-year-old immigrant, who arrived in Sabah in 1973, said he met an officer at the Tawau Native Court, who conveyed this message to him.
This took place in 1978, when Yuhanis agreed to the officer’s proposal and received his blue IC the following year.
“He (the court officer) asked, so I supported the government,” he told the RCI, which is sitting at the High Court complex in Kota Kinabalu.
Asked if this meant supporting through voting, Yuhanis replied: “Yes”.
During this period, the BN government was in power in Sabah, led by Berjaya, which ruled from 1976 to 1985.
Yuhanis said he only paid RM12 for the blue identity card and did not need to furnish any document. The identity card states he was born in Tawau.
He registered as a voter in 1981 and voted in the election that year, which saw Berjaya retain power, and has voted in every election since then.
The testimonies given today indicate that the arbitrary granting of blue identity cards to immigrants dates back further than initially thought, though it is unclear if this was done in an organised manner.
Another similar case is that of Indonesian national Berahim Abdullah, 54, who also testified today. He arrived in Sabah in 1980.
‘Runner helped with ICs’
Berahim said a friend approached him in 1990 and said he could help him get a blue identity card, without the need for any document.
After providing only his photographs, Berahim said, he was informed by the runner friend to pick up his new blue identity card at the National Registration Department (NRD).
He said he has since then voted four times, in the state constituency of Kunak.
Asked by watching brief lawyer James Ghani why he had gone on to register as a voter, Berahim replied: “To support the Barisan government”.
The Sabah government was at that time led by PBS, which was ousted in the 1994 state election.
A total of six witnesses testified today and to date 55 witnesses have taken the stand since the RCI began sitting on Jan 14.
This is the second session of RCI, which was supposed to end tomorrow but was adjourned today. It will reconvene for the third session on Feb 22.