KOTA KINABALU: A five-man Royal Commission of Inquiry will probe the abnormal rise in Sabah’s population and claims that foreigners were getting Malaysian citizenship through “backdoor channels”.

The panel, headed by former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong, has been given six months to investigate the issue, often dubbed as the “mother of all ills” in the state.

Under the eight-point terms of reference, the commission would also probe whether foreigners who had acquired blue identity cards (ICs) or citizenship illegally had been included in the electoral rolls.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to the RCI after meeting Sabah Barisan Nasional leaders at the state party headquarters here yesterday.

Besides Shim, its other members are former Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Kamaruzaman Ampon, former Sabah Attorney-General Tan Sri Herman Luping, former Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Henry Chin who is now Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation deputy chairman, and former State Secretary Datuk K.Y. Mustafa.

Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Saripudin Kasim has been appointed secretary of the RCI.

Najib said the setting up of the RCI showed the Federal Government’s commitment to investigate and resolve the longstanding concern.