Daily Express; 05 Julai 2013
KOTA KINABALU: The High Court on Thursday set Sept 18 for ruling on a RM50 million legal filed by former Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh against politician Dr Chong Eng Leong for claiming that Haris was involved in the issuance of blue ICs to foreigners in Sabah.
Judge Ravinthran Paramaguru fixed the date after the defendant called his last witness. The plaintiff only called one witness, Harris, while the defendant called five witnesses during the hearing of the suit. Harris is seeking an injunction to restrain Dr Chong, whether himself or his servants and/or employee or agent, from printing and publishing further statement and/or similar libel on him in any form.
He was represented by counsel Sonny Durai and Chin Yuen Fong and Dr Chong was represented by counsel Marina Tiu.
Earlier, the defendant's last witness, businessman Hassnar M. P Ebrahim told the court that Harris had no power to issue the blue Identity Card (IC) because that power is vested in the National Registration Department's (NRD) authorised officer but as the former Chief Minister he had strong connection with the Federal Government which has the authority to direct officials at NRD to issue the identification document to whosoever they wanted.
To question from Tiu as to how Harris was involved in the unlawful scheme overall, Hassnar said Harris as the Chief Minister wielded tremendous influence over the State machinery.
"All the Village Chiefs, Native Chiefs especially the Distric Chief appointments came under the prerogative of the Chief Minister. People followed whatever instructions he (Harris) gave. The signing of all the necessary forms such as the HNR10 and the filling his directive," he said.
According to Hassnar, when he was appointed the District Chief of Sandakan sometime in June 1981, he initially refused to accept the appointment and the post was left vacant until January 1982 when Harris instructed him to take up the post.
Hassnar told the court that when he assumed duty, he was asked to sign 500 blank HNR10 forms and he said obviously the Native Chief (NC) had been instructed by Harris as when the forms were brought to him, he (NC) mentioned "CM suruh" (CM directed).
He said he signed the HNR10 blank forms sometime between the end of January and early February 1982 before the defeat of Berjaya by PBS in the State election.
After signing the forms, Hassnar said he handed them over to one Haji Lokman Salleh who later gave them to someone he did not know for them to process further. When asked by Tiu that form Hassnar's recollected, who was the official from NRD who came to Berjaya headquarters to sign the HNR1 before they were sent for lamination, Hassnar said the Director at the time was Hassan Putih while the person who normally signed the HNR1 was Haji Bahari Majitar.
During cross examination by Chin, Hassnar disagreed that the plaintiff had never asked him to be involved in the fraudulent issuance of ICs as he said the ICs produced were not fake.
To a question from Chin, Hassnar said he met Dr. Mahathir when he was the Town Board Councilor in Sandakan and on two other occasions, namely a dinner held at the Sandakan Community Centre and during a visit to Agriculture Department at Mile 30, Sandakan Telupid road.
Hassnar agreed with Chin that till today no criminal charges have been levied against Harris to his involvement in the purported fraudulent issuance of ICs. He also disagreed with Chin that because he (Hassnar) hold a grudge against Harris, he is determined to bring him (Harris) down by making false accusations that he (Harris) was involved in the fraudulent issuance of ICs.
According to Hassnar, he has no grudge against Harris. Hassnar also disagreed that Harris only asked him to help genuine people who are entitled to get ICs and not to go and profit from it and also disagreed all his statements in his letters, publications, interviews, evidence in the 1999 Election case and his testimony on Wednesday were not true.