Former stateless siblings finally obtain MyKads after decade-long wait

Jones (third right) and Amastasia (second left) pose for a group photo with (from left) Rosey, Fatimah, Razi and Rashidah after the presentation ceremony.

Follow and subscribe to DayakDaily on Telegram for faster news updates.

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, May 20: Two siblings, Jones Bejie and Amastasia Bejie, now can wake up everyday without feeling afraid of the authorities as they have obtained their Malaysian identity cards (MyKad) thanks to the Ministry of Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development.

The 26-year-old Jones and his sister Amastasia, 23, have birth certificates and citizenship status but they do not have MyKads, causing the siblings to live in constant fear for over a decade.

Born in Sri Aman, the two Iban siblings were only able to go to school until Primary 6.

At present, both of them are residing in Kuching with Jones working as a mechanic and Amastasia working as a hairdresser.

“I feel touched because with the new MyKad, it gives me a new breath of life. Previously, I had to go through a lot just because I do not have one.

“For an example, I have been stopped by the authorities several times for not having a MyKad but so far, I have never been arrested. They just gave me warnings. This led me to live in constant fear,” Jones told reporters when met after a simple presentation ceremony to the siblings at Baitulmakmur 2 building today.

He also mentioned that with the MyKad, he planned to create a (bank) savings account.

Meanwhile, Amastasia shared that she too had been worried about dealing with the police everyday as she commuted to work.

“Especially during Covid-19, the authorities are always seen on patrol and they would conduct an inspection at business premises.

“If the police came to my workplace, I would hide in the bathroom until they are gone,” she said.

She also shared that she would always have to bring her birth certificate everywhere she went and that her status without proper documents was often taken as a joke throughout her childhood years until recently.

“When I first arrived to Kuching to work and I was trying to rent a home, the premises owner demanded for my MyKad. I told her I do not own one but I can show her my birth certificate as a proof that I am a Sarawakian.

“Despite all that, she was still hesitant and doubtful towards me to an extent that she said I do not look like a Malaysian at all,” she added.

At the same time, Minister Dato Seri Fatimah Abdullah said the stateless siblings’ story went viral on social media at the end of January this year which attracted the attention of the ministry’s personnel.

“The ministry then was committed in helping the siblings to apply for citizenship until the application was submitted to the Sarawak National Registration Department (NRD).

“However, due to the age factor of the two siblings being over 16 years old, the identity card application process is through the Late Registration of Identity Card (DLKP) procedure at the NRD.

“The DLKP procedure is different from the first 12-year identity card application procedure where a relatively long period of time is required for an interview session, thorough document review and subsequent case assessment at the panel level before a DLKP decision is issued,” she explained at a press conference at the same venue today.

Fatimah further mentioned that there are other Pribumi cases similar to that of Jones and Amastasia siblings whereby they have birth certificates but not ICs.

There are also cases of Pribumis who never had their birth registered, meaning they do not have a birth certificate at all.

However, she said cases like Jones and Amastasia are easier to solve compared to other cases involving a child resulted from an unregistered marriage and whose father is a Malaysian citizen but the mother is a foreigner.

“For such case, the child must apply for citizenship under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution. This will take a longer time because the citizenship can only be granted by the Federal government through the Home Ministry,” she said.

The process involved having the application submitted to Sarawak NRD and forwarded to the federal NRD in Putrajaya and then the Home Ministry before it is presented to the special committee on Citizenship. After that, the application will be endorsed and sent to the Home Minister Dato Seri Hamzah Zainuddin for approval.

Also present were Women and Childhood Development Deputy Minister Datuk Rosey Yunus, Community Wellbeing Development Deputy Minister Mohamad Razi Sitam and the ministry’s permanent secretary Datu Dr Rashidah Bolhassan. — DayakDaily