DAP MP to Muhyiddin: Give leeway to applications of rural children

Dr Kelvin Yii

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KUCHING, Sept 23: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii has requested Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to intervene on late birth registration issue especially for those children born in the rural areas.

He said the Home Ministry must give special consideration to the issue especially if there are legitimate reasons given by the state National Registration Department (NRD) office so that applicants do not need to travel all the way to the headquarters in Putrajaya to do so.

Dr Yii requested this following the Home Ministry’s decision to stop all late birth registrations at state National Registration Department offices with immediate effect; and also in response to the fake MyKad scandal that rocked the NRD in Penang.

The scandal saw one of NRD assistant director being charged with 11 counts of falsifying birth certificates and identity cards.

“Such acts are akin to ‘treason’ and should thus be charged to the full extent of the law. However, I understand the need to increase the security in all the different processes of the NRD to prevent any abuse of such kind,” he said in a statement.

Despite the scandal, Dr Yii also opined that there are many real cases due to legitimate reasoning such as late registration especially for those living far in the interior and rural areas who find it difficult to travel to bigger towns for registration.

He added that in many of such cases, the rural folks cannot even afford to travel to the nearest town to register their children as it is very costly and time-consuming to go to the nearest NRD office.

“Many of them, especially the ‘Orang Asal’ in the interior are unaware of the laws and many still practice their customary laws even in marriage and in birth. So in these cases, they do not travel down to the town to register their children immediately and because of this they will face many problems when their children need to go to school or getting services from any hospitals.”

He said while the NRD and certain NGOs do mobile registrations in some villages, it does not equip them to cover all the interior of Sarawak due to geographical topography.

Following the implementation of the new policy, they will need to travel to Putrajaya for their application and that will deter them from registering their child which will lead to an increase in the number of stateless children in our country.

“That is why I believe an exception should be given not just to children born in the interior of Sabah and Sarawak, but also to the Orang Asli in Semenanjung Malaysia who may also face similar issues such as poverty, logistical issues or even low awareness of the law.”

Dr Yii said his request to the ministry to give special consideration to all the legitimate cases is not just a blanket policy that may not be so relevant in some areas.

“If (the new policy is) not properly implemented, it may even exacerbate the current situation where more children will be deprived of their rights to education, healthcare and most importantly the right to a proper identity in their own country of birth.”

According to Star Online report, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced yesterday that the Home Ministry is in the midst of improving NRD delivery system and standard operating procedures (SOPs) following the revelation of a syndicate selling MyKad and birth certificates to foreigners.

The Home Minister said among the measures that will be taken are an immediate halt to registration of late births at state NRD offices with such registration only allowed at NRD headquarters. — DayakDaily