KUCHING, July 31: Pakatan Harapan lawmakers, having direct access to the Home Ministry’s office, would effectively help Putrajaya expedite citizenship applications from Sarawak.
According to state Pakatan chairman Chong Chieng Jen, the more intense and personal follow-ups by the elected representatives in their handling of the citizenship applications have produced results.
“Within two to three months, we have gotten 31 cases (sorted) and I believe more approvals will be forthcoming soon,” he said in a statement today.
“This is also why I view that the Special Committee on Citizenship (SCC) headed by Fatimah was ineffective in resolving the long outstanding citizenship application issue faced by so many genuine Sarawakians,” said the Stampin MP, in reference to committee headed by Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
Chong, who is also the Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, believed that many Sarawakians were denied citizenship for decades because of some minor technicalities and bureaucracies.
He noted that since 2016, the SCC has received 723 applications for citizenship, but as of May 2019, three years after the formation of the SCC, only 123 applications have been approved.
“At this rate, it could take SCC another 15 years to get the approvals for all the applicants in hand. This is not only highly ineffective, it is also an unfair torment to the applicants and their families,” he said.
Chong urged Fatimah to trust the federal government in handling the matter fairly and efficiently.
In response to the criticism by SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, in equating the Pakatan government’s effort to Sabah IC problem, he said this was a non-issue, as Sarawak government still has autonomy over immigration matters.
“Furthermore, all the 31 recipients of citizenship approval on July 29 have lived in Sarawak most of their lives and they all have siblings or one of the parents who are Sarawakians,” he continued.
Chong believed there are still hundreds of similar cases out there and reassured that the Pakatan government is determined to give them their rightful citizenship as soon as possible.
On the criticism from PBB vice-president Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, that Chong should put Sarawak first, the DAP lawmaker reminded that his loyalty lies with the people of Sarawak and not with the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak. — DayakDaily