Activist: Ministry’s issuance of temporary documents for stateless individuals is ‘sterling’ example of upholding their rights

Bill Jugah with the temporary identification documents for stateless individuals.

By William Isau

SIBU, Oct 14: Bill Jugah, who is the founder of the Independent Council of Natives (ICON) and chairman of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association Rajang Branch (SADIA), applauded the Ministry of Women, Childhood, and Community Wellbeing Development for the initiative to issue temporary documents for stateless individuals.

In a statement today, he said the initiative is a sterling example of a successful collaboration between various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the State Government in upholding the inherent rights of the marginalised segment of the community.

“This milestone did not materialise overnight but resulted from a long and tedious collection of data from various categories of statelessness spread all over Sarawak, both from rural and urban areas.

“I have received close to 2,000 cases which I will need to sort through for submission, ” Bill said.

On Oct 2, Minister of Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development, Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, said that the State Government issued the temporary documents starting in April this year.

She also said that stateless individuals below the age of 21 in the State need to submit their citizenship applications by Nov 1.

“With this, I hope other government agencies will also put the needs of the people first instead of being too rigid in following outdated departmental guidelines. The term ‘public servants’ means to serve the public and do it well, ” Bill concluded.

Forms can be obtained from district offices and the ministry itself. — DayakDaily