KUCHING, Nov 30: A total of 46 stateless individuals who were born and grew up in the state without any certification finally received their personal identification documents.
Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said it’s great news that the applications of these stateless individuals were approved as per the government’s promise.
Aged from three years to 20-years-old, the stateless individuals who were granted citizenship today are from Serian Sibu, Bintulu, Dalat, Baram, Kuching, Miri, Mukah, Sarikei and Kanowit.
Fatimah hoped these formerly stateless individuals who now have citizenship can enjoy welfare and benefits such as education, scholarships and job applications which all require identification documents.
Earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi during his working visit here had said that eligible applicants with complete documentation that fulfills all requirements will be approved within this month.
The Home Minister had met Fatimah who has been given the responsibility by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to tackle the problem regarding ownership of identity cards and birth certificates among Sarawakians.
Zahid said that a special task force was set up by National Registration Department in addition to the task force set up by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun to ensure all residents in rural areas, especially among the Iban and Penan community, would not face problems owning an identity card and birth certificate.
The task force headed by Fatimah had called 13 meetings and received 242 applications. Most of them failed to obtain citizenship because of their parents’ improper marriage process (born before registration of marriage), or failed to apply for birth certificate due to various reasons. Fatimah hoped that other applicants could be granted citizenship too.
Among the applicants were nine abandoned babies adopted by the state welfare department. — Dayak Daily