By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Nov 11: The Penans are now no longer an isolated community with 90 per cent of them registered with the National Registration Department (NRD), revealed its director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh.
“Now 90 per cent of the Penans have been registered with the NRD especially through mobile registration units. And from time to time, we communicate with the community leaders and we come to help them,” Ruslin told the media after paying a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex here today.
On late birth registration, Ruslin Jusoh said his department was updating its standard operating procedure (SOP) especially for Sarawak as it has the highest number of late registrations.
“Sarawak is among the states in Malaysia which rate the highest in late birth registrations, followed by Sabah and other states such as Johor and Selangor,” he said, adding that Sarawak recorded least 3,000 late birth registrations annually.
Among the reasons for late registration, Ruslin disclosed that transportation was the main reason, coupled with difficulty for parents in rural areas to register their children at the department’s nearest office.
“There also cases where those aged 50 and even 60 have never registered their births,” he said.
Ruslin disclosed there were cases where parents were not aware of the birth registration period, and only waited for a suitable time to register their children.
“In West Malaysia, the registration of a child must be done within 60 days. Whereas, in Sarawak the registration process has to be done within 42 days,” he said, adding that registrations made after that period will be considered as late registrations.
However, Ruslin gave assurance that his department has adopted a policy of no deadlines for late birth registrations in Sarawak.
“If it is after the initial registration period, it will be considered as late registration, but the people can register anytime provided they have the supporting documents to prove that they are Sarawakians,” he stressed.
“With that being said, NRD is committed to assisting the people, especially in the rural areas. There are already special mobile units based in Kuching, Miri and Bintulu to go on the ground to help the people with birth registration and identification card (Mykad) application,” said Ruslin
He said his department was also working closely with village community leaders on the ground and once there are new birth or death cases, the community leaders will report to the NRD.
“We want to reduce the number of late registrations in Sarawak. And we hope to achieve it through our ongoing programme by assisting in any way possible,” he added.
On another matter, Ruslin said, for Sarawak and Sabah, their respective department directors have the power to approve late birth registrations. Due to its geographical size, Sarawak has the biggest NRD work force in the country with 600 staff. — DayakDaily