KUCHING, March 24: From 2017 to Feb 15, 2022, out of 9,259 citizenship applications for children under the age of 18 from Sarawak and Sabah, only 198 are approved.
The Home Ministry was thus urged to resolve the issue of stateless people in Sarawak and Sabah as soon as possible, or to delegate authority to both Borneo states.
Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew stated yesterday in his debate on the Royal Address by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah in the ongoing Dewan Negara sitting that almost all of those affected are from the B40 group and live in rural areas.
“This group of children cannot be part of this ‘Keluarga Malaysia’. They are most easily subjected to abuse and exploited. They cannot seek assistance. Their education is restricted and they have to seek work in the underground economy for cash without any protection under the laws,” he stressed.
In light of this ongoing and growing issue, Lau suggested that the two states be given the authority to register those affected and issue identity cards to those who qualify.
He stated that this authority can be delegated to Sarawak and Sabah in accordance with Articles 80 (4), (5), and (6) of the Federal Constitution.
“Will the Ministry of Home Affairs support such a move and if not, what assurance that this issue will be resolved soon?” he asked. — DayakDaily