by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, March 30, 1993:
National Registration Department Director-General not aware of a syndicate supplying new hi-tech identity cards to foreigners in additional proof of a serious disease afflicting the public service
It is clear that the National Registration Department (NRD) director-General, Encik Kamaruddin Nordin, knew nothing of the syndicate involving senior NRD officers supplying new hi-tech identity cards to foreigners – which was disclosed by the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Megat Junid Megat Ayob, in Perak on Sunday.
This was why Encik Kamaruddin told the press yesterday that he: “had only seen what was reported in the papers and I will have to clarify the report with the Deputy Home Minister.”
Megat Junid said last Sunday that he had been informed by police that three senior NRD officers had been questioned in connection with the illegal supply of the cards to foreigners.
The senior NRD officers were suspected to conspiring with the syndicate as the particulars of the new cards had been recorded in the department’s computers but the applications had not received official vetting. He said that such ‘upstream cheating’ involving senior NRD officers had been suspected to have gone on for a year.
Megat also said another syndicate was responsible for supplying Malaysian birth certificates to Muslim foreigners here.
Megat’s revelations as well as Kamaruddin Nordin’s ignorance have presented with a double shock.
One important reason why 15 million Malaysians are required to go through the hassle, inconvenience and expense of exchanging their laminated identity cards for the hi-tech identity cards is because of security reason – to prevent syndicates from selling counterfeit or even genuine identity cards to people who are not entitled to them.
The high-tech identity cards operation is therefore meant to demonstrate the Chinese maxim of ‘Devil reaches one foot, but Tao reaches one yard’. However, within the first year of the five-year new hi-tech identity card application exercise, this maxim has been proved wrong and syndicates at ‘upstream’ levels involving senior NRD officers are already involved in supplying them to foreigners.
This is the first shock. The second shock is that the Director-General of the NRD should be ignorant of such a grave breach of security of the hi-tech identity card system – which either does not speak well for the director-general or the Deputy Home Ministers.
Recently, there had been many incidents like the national energy crisis, the three Subang International Airport security scandals in less than year and the multitude of negligence cases in the national medical system which have shown the entire public service in a bad light as well as demonstrating that something is very wrong with it.
The hi-tech identity card scandal, which the NRD director-general had himself to read from the newspapers, is the additional and latest example of a very serious disease afflicting the public service and the strongest argument that a complete shake-up of the civil service is urgently needed if the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, is serious about Vision 2020.