KUALA LUMPUR - THE government has never initiated a secret task force to grant citizenship to foreigners. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in quashing allegations by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that a secret task force was formed since the 1970s to issue identity cards to illegal immigrants in Sabah, said citizenships were granted through legal procedures.
"(Former prime minister) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had replied in the RCI (Royal Commission of Inquiry) that there was no secret project (or task force) that we (the government) had carried out," he said yesterday after opening the 2013 Middle Temple Annual Conference.
Najib said Malaysia, like any other country, offered citizenships according to certain terms.
"Those who became citizens went through a legal process based on the Federal Constitution. But if one were to claim that there was a secret project, that is not true."
Anwar had made the claim at the RCI on illegal immigrants in Sabah in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.
Meanwhile, on calls for the government to allow the remains of Communist Party of Malaya leader Chin Peng to be buried in Malaysia, Najib said there was no need to honour one who was responsible for the deaths of thousands.
He said everyone should rather be compassionate towards the victims of the atrocities committed by the communists.
"We have to weigh the fact that he (Chin Peng) was responsible for killing thousands of military and police personnel and even civilians."
Asked whether the government would reconsider its decision on humanitarian grounds, he said no one should forget the victims of the communists.
"They (the victims) were very emotional about what had happened. Many people died, with so many wounded as well. There is a great outpouring of emotions against bringing his remains here."
Najib said Chin Peng was never deprived of opportunities to return to Malaysia. However, he had failed to adhere to the terms of the Hatyai Peace Accord signed in 1989.
Citing a different approach to dealing with terrorists, Najib said the United States chose to hunt down al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden for the Sept 11, 2001 attack on New York's World Trade Center.
"We could see that Chin Peng died a natural death. Osama, however, was singled out, killed and his body thrown into the sea."