NRD should award ICs promptly once Home Affairs approves applications, says former DAP rep

Irene Chang

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KUCHING, June 20: The National Registration Department (NRD) should explain and justify their basis for the delay in issuing National Identity Cards (ICs) to applicants who have been successfully granted Malaysian citizenship.

In a statement today, Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) political education director Irene Chang drew attention to two of these applicants which the party had helped to apply for and obtain citizenship but have yet to be issued their ICs by JPN.

She said the two applicants had received their letters of approval for their citizenship applications from the Home Affairs Ministry in February 2020 and October 2020 respectively and had proceeded to NRD Sibu to get their Certificate of Malaysia Citizenship soon after but to no avail.

Previously, successful applicants would only have to wait for two to three months for ICs to be processed and to be issued to them by the NRD.

“For these two cases, the applicants have been waiting until today and their identity cards are still not issued to them yet,” said Chang who is a former Bukit Assek assemblywoman.

However, on April 2022, the second applicant received a letter from NRD Putrajaya which told him that his application for an IC would not be able to be processed unless and until he sent them “bukti keberadaan” in Malaysia such as school records and confirmation from community leaders.

“This is not right as what NRD is demanding from these applicants are in fact, documents to support the applicants’ eligibility to be conferred the citizenship.

“And all these documents had already been submitted to the Home Affairs Ministry and who have approved their application based on them.

“Once the Home Affairs Ministry has decided and approved the citizenship application, NRD has to follow the approval by issuing them the national identity cards,” said Chang.

She pointed out that both the above cases concerned applications made under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution, which means that the applications were granted under special circumstances to those aged under 21-years-old.

“Hence, as long as the applicants have received their Certificate of Citizenship, NRD has no business delaying or refusing to issue their national identity card.

“Furthermore, these applicants were legally adopted under our Sarawak Adoption Ordinance which means that our District Office had already decided that they have Sarawak connection and are residing in Sarawak.

“By requiring the “bukti keberadaan” again, is NRD, as a federal agency questioning or ignoring the authority of not only the Home Affairs Ministry and also of our State agency i.e. our District Office?” Chang questioned.

She said the recent case of a former border scout who denied ambulance transfer due to citizenship woes was a heart-breaking example of how lack of citizenship may pose a threat to lives.

She asserted there is no point for ministers and government heads to only successfully address every individual case highlighted by the media as there are hundreds of cases where applicants and individuals involved prefer to shun publicity as they prefer to maintain anonymity.

She claimed that in an increasing number of cases, the applicants are finding that they need to pay the price of adverse publicity if they should ever hope for citizenship and identity cards to be granted and issued to them.

“Hence, for those who have already received their much awaited Certificate of Citizenship from the Home Affairs Ministry, NRD as the last stop, should cut out all red tape and bureaucracy and not delay or deny these people their national identity card, which is their most prized document to prove that they belong to this State and country,” said Chang. — DayakDaily