By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Sept 27: Rural areas of Sarawak should be exempted from the Home Ministry’s new policy which requires late registration of births to be processed only at National Registration Department (NRD) headquarters in Putrajaya.
Emphasising this, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said that the latest changes to the procedures, which was decided out of noble intention, should only apply to urban areas.
“The intention to stop and prevent late birth registration is noble and good. This (also) hopefully will reduce foul play by NRD officers in registering birth certificates and identification cards (MyKad),” he told DayakDaily today.
“However, this new ruling should only be applicable to those residing in urban areas or those who have easy access to NRD main office,” he said.
“For those residing in ‘ulu’ (rural or remote) areas where accessibility and mobility is a major issue, the new ruling will be a real problem and many newborns will not be not be registered on time,” he added.
He pointed out that if no exemption were to be placed for rural residents of Sarawak, the problem of late birth registrations in the state will not be solved but exacerbated.
Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, thus called for the Home Ministry to use applicants’ address as the determining factor to allow late birth registration in Sarawak.
“The same problem will be repeated in Sarawak. For this problem not to be repeated, flexibility in the rulings must be allowed if the applicants are residing in the rural areas in Sarawak,” he said.
“Therefore, the applicants’ address must be the main factor in allowing for late birth registration especially in Sarawak,” he suggested.
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had announced on Monday (Sept 23) that the Ministry was in the midst of improving NRD delivery system and standard operation procedures (SOPs) following the revelation of a syndicate selling MyKad and birth certificates to foreigners.
He revealed that among the measures that will be taken were an immediate halt to registration of late births at state NRD offices with such registration only allowed at NRD headquarters.
Considering the huge rural population in Sarawak with some living far in the interior, it will take days for the rural residents to reach the urban centres.
As such, late registrations have been very common in the rural areas of Sarawak.— DayakDaily