RCI witness claimed that Christina Liew is an Indonesian at the hearing Wednesday, triggering an argument with Commissioner Chin over the validity of the allegation. Chin said he knew the Liews while in Tawau
By : VICTOR MA
KOTA KINABALU: Api-Api State assemblywoman Christina Liew has categorically rubbished the allegation by a witness in the on-going Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI), that she is an Indonesian of Chinese descent who had obtained Malaysian citizenship.
“My parents were British subjects migrated to North Borneo in 1952, with British documents from Hong Kong. I was one month old then. I obtained my blue IC when Sabah/Malaysia achieved her independence in 1963. I’m a naturalized citizen.
“All my six brothers and sisters were born in Tawau. We grew up in North Borneo before independence. I have never been to Indonesia until I was in my adulthood.
“What nonsense is this man talking about?” she told the Borneo Insider.
She said this in a rebuttal to the claim of Sabah Sukuk Ethnic Clan Association secretary Mohd Zaki Hari Susanto, while giving his testimony at the RCI hearing, on Wednesday.
Liew who is also PKR Api-Api division chief reiterated that her father’s British documents issued by Hong Kong British government then were good enough to prove that she was not born in Indonesia.
“He (her father) has never been to Indonesia at all,” she added.
To a question, while affirming that she has all the relevant documents to substantiate her claims, Christina nonetheless said she would not be bothered with Zaki’s allegation.
“Why should I bother with such nonsense? Why should I entertain his hearsay? His issue is I was born in Indonesia, so I only need to prove him wrong. I was born in Hong Kong,” she said.
Liew also said she will call for a press conference at the DUN Thursday to explain further on the allegation.
Clan chief asks why only Bugis and Sulu victimised
At the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the granting of identity cards to foreigners today it was heard that Liew, the Api Api state assemblywoman of PKR is an Indonesian of Chinese descent who had obtained Malaysian citizenship.
The allegation was made by Sabah Sukuk Ethnic Clan Association secretary Mohd Zaki Hari Susanto who told the inquiry panel that he heard that residents of Tawau were questioning why the descendants of Bugis and Sulu were the only ones identified as being recipients of fake identity cards.
“I had raised the issue because the people in Tawau were the ones who spoke about it… why is it that only those of Bugis and Sulu origins are associated with the RCI,” the witness was reported as saying by the Malaysian Insider.
“They said that she (Christina) is Chinese from Indonesia, who had obtained her identity card and became an opposition ally in Sabah,” he said to the five members of the inquiry panel at the Kota Kinabalu High Court.
Chin knew the Liew family in Tawau
Malaysiakini meanwhile reported that an argument broke out when Zaki repeatedly insisted that Liew was born in Indonesia and now she managed to go on to become the Api-Api assemblyperson.
“I got this information from the Indonesians in Tawau, they confirmed that she is Chinese Indonesian, but went on to become a leader of the opposition.
“I brought this up because people only target the Bajaus and Suluks when it comes to the RCI… Don’t only target one or two ethnic groups,” he said.
At this, one of the RCI’s Commissioners, Henry Chin said he was certain that Liew was born in Tawau, Sabah as he was the OCPD of that district at that time, reported the online portal.
“Liew’s parents were from Hong Kong and she was born in Tawau, and when they grew up she married an Indonesian.
“Your information is incorrect because I know her family when I served as OCPD of Tawau and I know she was born at Tawau hospital,” he said.
However, Mohd Zaki was adamant that Liew was from Indonesia and had changed her name when she supposedly arrived from Indonesia.
“It could be that she was not born here but her birth certificate was done through late registration.
“I’m bringing this up because the people in Tawau told me,” he said.
However, Chin stressed that he had to clarify the fact as Mohd Zaki’s information was hearsay.
“You only heard about it, but you cannot verify that information,” said Chin.
Liew was elected as Api-Api assemblyperson in last month’s general election and was chosen as the new opposition whip for the PKR.
Mohd Zaki, who is former secretary-general of Persatuan Rumpun Etnik Suluk Sabah, was queried at the RCI on whether his organisation had helped Suluks in Sabah to illegally obtain citizenship.
However, Mohd Zaki who is also a former police officer, denied this, stating that all of its members were Malaysian citizens.
Asked about the Suluk incursion on Lahad Datu from the Philippines, Mohd Zaki said he was offended as the act had sullied the good name of the Suluks in Sabah.
“When I served as peacekeeper in Timor Leste, I met our Filipino counterpart who did not understand what is ‘Suluk’, they only knew who are ‘Tausug’.
“The term ‘Suluk’ is only used in Malaysia, in Philippines such people call themselves ‘Tausug’, so it is clear we Suluk are Malaysians,” he said.