I was the main player, pensioner tells Royal Commission of Inquiry.

KOTA KINABALU: A witness told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah yesterday that he was the grand engineer behind the exercise to recruit Malaysianised immigrants as new voters in Sabah, to topple the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) government in the 80s and early 90s.

Mat Swadi Awi, a 63-year-old pensioner from Ipoh, Perak, testified that he was assigned to devise the strategy to push PBS out of power, which included mainly distributing new pro-Usno voters in strategic constituencies across the state.

The former banker who told Harakah in February that former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed was also involved in the exercise, informed the RCI that he carried out the exercise believing it was his national duty, after receiving personal request from the late Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun and with consent from the then Deputy Home Ministry, the late Datuk Megat Junid Megat Ayub.

According to Mat Swadi, he planned and monitored the distribution of the new voters between 1987 and 1990, before pulling out after finding out it was being abused by certain quarters to unlawfully issue Malaysian identification cards.

“I was the main player, as I said in the Harakah interview. I was given the main role, which is to engineer the whole thing during Mahathir’s tenure. My first meeting with Tun Mustapha was in the middle of 1986, when I was serving as a branch manager for Bank Pertanian in Sabah.

“The first meeting was just a general introduction, then slowly political talk crept in as Tun assessed my political belief
and loyalty. Then he revealed his real intention and asked me to help to bring Usno back. Something has to be done to increase the number of Malay voters, and the way to do it was to source for new voters.

“Filipino immigrants, including those who were holding permanent resident status who had yet to be given citizenship, were naturally not voters, so they were the main potential source,” he said.

Apart from immigrants, he said the exercise also targeted Malaysian citizens including teachers, military and police personnel from Peninsular Malaysia to be registered as voters in Sabah.

According to him, the new voters were distributed with the help of the Election Commission to areas where Usno was weak, including Papar and Inanam, among others.

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