SIBU, Sept 7: The world is 19-year-old Mohammad Aidill Maula Hamdan’s oyster after his long wait for Malaysian citizenship is finally over.
Born stateless, Mohammad Aidill submitted his citizenship application to the Ministry of Home Affairs through the National Registration Department (NRD) in PutraJaya in 2016.
A jubilant Aidill who is from a family with seven children in Matu received his citizenship document from Minister of Women, Childhood, and Community Wellbeing Development, Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah today.
Present to witness the handover were Mohammad Aidill’s father Hamdan Mohamad, 46, mother Halimah Buang, State NRD director Abang Noraffian Abang Ibrahim and University of Technology Sarawak (UTS) vice chancellor, Prof Datuk Khairuddin Ab Hamid.
“When I was in primary school, my ambition was to become a policeman but now I have decided to be a teacher,” Mohammad Aidill revealed after receiving his citizenship document.
He had applied to study for a teaching degree with Sultan Idris Education University, Perak. UTS, meanwhile, has also given him a conditional offer to do any degree he wishes.
He had achieved 3A (Geography, Accounting and Bahasa Malaysia) and 1B (General Studies) in his 2021 STPM exam with an average grade of 3.59.
Expressing his gratitude to Fatimah and the NRD for approving his application, he said as he was stateless at the time, it was a burden for his family to pay for his primary and secondary school education.
“When I was in SK Sibu Jaya, I had to pay RM120 yearly for the school fee, RM240 a year for secondary school fee in SMK Matu, SPM exam fee of RM237, RM237 for each semester in Form 6, and an STPM exam fee RM240 at SMK Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Hjh Normah,”he said.
His father who is a retired soldier but is now a fisherman, also thanked NRD for the approval of his son’s application.
Meanwhile Fatimah urged the federal authority to speed up processing stateless children’s applications for citizenship.
“Some applicants only get the result in six years. This is far too long, leaving the applicants with nowhere to go. We have children who have the potential to further their studies. With citizenship, it will make a lot of difference for them,” she said.
She added that a total of 268 citizenship applications out of 1,042 submitted from Sarawak have been approved under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution from August 2016 to September 2022.
Out of 268, she said, 100 of them are from children residing in the very remote areas of the State.
“About 50 of the 100 could not be contacted to collect their citizenship documents as maybe they have changed their phone number. The other 50 had collected theirs with the help of their respective community leaders who managed to locate them,” she said. — DayakDaily