KUCHING: Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) is appalled by the news report that a RM1,000 fine will be imposed on parents who fail to register their newborns within 60 days after birth.
The party said this would have an adverse impact on rural Dayak in Sarawak who are already facing statelessness issues with so many bureaucratic hurdles, not just newborns but also adults who still do not have birth certificates and MyKad due to complications in justifying their birthrights as Sarawakians and Malaysians.
It is costly for the Dayak community living in rural areas without proper road access and modes of transportation to travel to urban centres to deal with these bureaucratic matters.
“They cannot afford to go back and forth between their villages and the nearest National Registration Department (NRD) office,” said PBDSB in a press statement today.
The party disagreed with the increment in the penalty fee.
“Why are they (the federal government) not aware that such an increment would add on to the burden of the Dayak people in rural Sarawak? Does the federal government even realise that after 54 years, there are rural Dayak areas still without basic infrastructure?
“Do they think that our rural Dayak people could just easily jump on a ‘perahu’ (boat) and paddle their way to the front gate of the NRD office whenever they want to? Are they that naive to think that all rural areas are connected by basic infrastructure?” asked PBDSB.
PBDSB opined it was a hasty decision made by the federal government without taking into account the situation, condition and lack of basic infrastructure of the communities in rural Sarawak.
“They should consult with the Sarawak government and make a special case (exception) for rural areas in Sarawak. The decision should not be made just based on situations in Peninsular Malaysia.
“If (Deputy Home Minister Datuk) Nur Jazlan (Mohamed) has any idea of how different the situations in Sarawak and Sabah are, he should take necessary steps to improve and enhance the NRD mobility team for rural Dayak communities because out of the 500,000 unregistered adult voters, two-thirds are eligible rural Dayak voters,” PBDSB claimed.
“How can these Dayaks register as voters if their birthrights and citizenship (issues) are still not resolved?”
PBDSB was responding to the new policy announced by Nur Jazlan that the fine for late birth registration in Malaysia has been increased from RM50 to RM1,000 to ensure and encourage parents to register their children as soon as possible.
If they register the birth late (more than 60 days after the birth of a child), then they will have to pay the RM1,000 fine.