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SIBU, Nov 24: Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) Rajang Branch hopes candidates will raise issues related to citizenship during the 12th Sarawak State Election.
Branch chairman Bill Jugah told reporters after a talk titled ‘Human Rights and Your Role’ today that this is because the issue needs more attention from the ministry concerned.
“This issue does not only involve the Baleh constituency or Subis as it involves the whole State and even in West Malaysia, where the Indians are affected,” he said.
This citizenship issue covers, among others, stateless people who have no personal documents, and those with green identity cards.
“Our branch has received 920 applications on citizenship matters during the last two and half years. The Home Ministry needs to upgrade the standard operating procedure (SOP) in handling this issue. We are helping the ministry to upgrade this SOP so that those born in the State are not denied their privilege,” he said.
Bill said due to the current SOP, the country is losing human capital development as Stateless people find it hard to receive an education or get jobs.
“They were born here and dedicated their life here. They are the future human resource of the country for employment. They are future doctors, future teachers but we are denying them the privilege as they do not have personal documents,” he said.
The stateless could also contribute to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) thus helping it to replenish funds affected by large withdrawals by members due to various withdrawal programmes such as i-Bestari and i-Citra.
Bill said he had decided on a different approach to help the stateless gain citizenship.
“I have decided to do away with engagement with the local National Registration Department but will instead go straight to see its director to highlight the weakness of the system so that they will hopefully upgrade it,” he said. — DayakDaily