Stateless individuals below 21yo urged to submit citizenship applications before Nov 1

Fatimah cutting a cake to celebrate DFC's 10th anniversary-cum-Children's Day 2022 event as Lau (on Fatimah's) right and others look on.

SIBU, Oct 2: Stateless individuals below 21-years-old in the State need to submit their citizenship applications by November 1.

“We hope to receive the applications early by November 1. To apply for citizenship, parents, guardians or sponsors may complete the application form together with the necessary supporting documents and send it directly to my ministry or through the nearest District Office,” said Minister of Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development, Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah at Destiny for Children Sibu’s (DFC) 10th anniversary-cum-Children’s Day 2022 event today.

She said the completed application forms will be certified and sent to the Sarawak Premier’s Department for the next stage of approval in 37 working days’ time.

The outcomes, probably sometime in January 2023, will be sent to applicants through the ministry for applications made directly to it or through their District Office.

The 37-day period, she said, was needed due to legal implications and the requirement to explain the application to the related government agencies.

“We have to get the State attorney-general’s input, we need to explain to all the relevant agencies such as the Immigration Department, Education Department, and District Office so that they will all understand then only we will process it (application),” she said.

She also expressed regret that as approval for citizenship applications is under the purview of the federal government through the Home Ministry, there is a long waiting period before it is known whether the application is successful or not.

“As the ministry takes too long to announce the result, there are cases of students dropping out of school,” she said.

Fatimah said her ministry has always advised Stateless individuals to apply for citizenship first then for temporary documents which enable them to have access to education and health facilities.

The temporary documents, she said, were issued by the State Government starting April this year.

The government, she added, is trying to reduce the number of Stateless children as based on the findings of “A Comprehensive Study on the Causative Factors Leading to Stateless Children in Sarawak”, it was found that 100 per cent of Stateless children born in the State are “statusless.”

This is mainly due to their parents who did not register their marriage.

Meanwhile DFC treasurer Ann Lau said the centre needs to raise RM255,000 to keep it running for 2023.

“We have so far received RM170,000 from donations. There are 85 children, with children ranging between the ages of 6 to 16-years-old studying at DFC .

“They are taught Bahasa Malaysia, Mathematics, English, Science, Moral, and Physical Exercise & Sports, with classes running Monday to Friday,” she said.

DFC is a non-profit organisation for stateless children, school dropouts and street children. — DayakDaily