Well Dr Mahathir always has the knack for speaking volumes in the least amount of words. In a conversation once with Dr Mahathir, we told him about the criticism - current at that time - that all his spending on the Penang Bridge, the N-S Highway, Putrajaya, the KLIA and other "mega" projects at that time had been a drain on the Malaysian economy. We were referring to a book written by an Indian guy with a PhD who was named after an African. It was a tiring and long winded argument.
Dr Mahathir dismissed the entire argument by just saying, 'How can it be a drain on the economy when during that period we had strong economic growth?'
The fact was in the 80s and 90s we had the best growth rates - exceeding seven percent each year. An economy that was 'drained' could not generate such growth.
Yesterday Dr Mahathir has spoken about the Sabah RCI issue. First of all he says that the Moro refugees in Sabah were there for 20 to 30 years (since the 1970s) before they were given citizenship.
This is not unlike the 30,000 to 50,000 Indians who have been given citizenship on the Peninsula in recent years. Many of the Indians have had their citizenship applications approved. There are also many Indians who never applied for citizenship (due to factors like illiteracy and not being able to speak a word of Malay) and they have been assisted by some NGOs to get their citizenship applications processed. So even those who did not apply for citizenship on their own are being processed for citizenship.
The second point made by Dr Mahathir is that despite granting the Filipino refugees citizenship, not all of them vote for Barisan Nasional anyway or that they even voted at all.
In Yahoo Malaysia today an ex Filipino refugee Ismail Balaka claims he was granted citizenship circa 1975 (?) without going to the National Registration Department.
Then in the same breath Ismail Balaka says that he did go to the village hall where officers from the National Registration Department were present. He signed an application form, gave his fingerprints and had his photograph taken. This was surely part of the process for getting his citizenship. And he received his Malaysian IC five months later. (One would assume that if there was forgery going on, why not issue the Malaysian ICs on the spot !)
Another ex-refugee Hatta Ghani said he applied for citizenship in 1988 but it was granted to him in 1990.
I find it very strange that the people who are complaining loudest about the refugees being given citizenship are immigrants themselves. This appears to be another red herring.
If we wanted to create instant citizens there is a much easier solution - just give citizenships to the two million Indons that are floating around the country. The vast majority of Indons do not even have PR status here. Our construction foreman Adi who has been here for 16 years and has a regular job with a monthly salary of RM5000 only has a PR.
Here is a question folks : do you think Lim Kit Siang will take up Adi's case and help him apply for a citizenship? Pi dah mabuk. Chicken shit hypocrites.