Stateless individuals under 21yo can apply for temporary documentation to access education, health in Sarawak

Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah (file photo)

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Nov 29: Stateless individuals under the age of 21 in Sarawak may apply for temporary documentation to get access to education and health facilities in the State.

Minister for Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said the application for “Dokumen Sementara Individu Tanpa Kewarganegaraan Di Sarawak” (DSITKS) can be made at the nearest District Office starting Nov 1.

To be eligible for DSITKS, the applicant must have a birth certificate registered in Sarawak with the status of “undetermined citizenship” and has applied for Malaysian citizenship under Article 15(a) of the Federal Constitution.

“The applications received will be reviewed by the district offices or the ministry to ensure that the forwarded application forms are complete and meet the requirements,” she said in a press conference held at Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex here today.

The validity period for DSITKS is two years from the date of approval of the application. An extension application can be made if the holder has not yet acquired citizenship.

The DSITKS must be returned to the ministry as soon as the holder obtains citizenship and an identity card.

“To date, the ministry has received 60 applications since Nov 1,” she added.

Fatimah (seated centre) speaks to reporters while (clockwise from seated left) Rosey, Noriah, Dr Rashidah, Dr Zufar and Awang Afferoz look on during the press conference at the DUN Complex on Nov 29, 2022.

Fatimah also disclosed that the Social Development Council (MPS) together with strategic partners including District Offices, National Registration Department (JPN) Sarawak and Immigration Department of Malaysia (JIM) Sarawak, will implement a proactive integrated outreach programme at several locations to reach out to more stateless children.

The programme will be held at CSSC Kuching, Abell Road on Dec 2; followed by Sepupok, Niah (Dec 8); Seri Malaysia Hotel, Lawas (Dec 10); and Destiny for Children Centre, Sibu (Dec 12).

“This is to ensure that more stateless children will obtain this temporary documentation and enable them to have access to education come the new school term in March,” she emphasised.

On April 9, Fatimah announced that a special committee would be set up to review applications and eligibility for stateless children under the age of 21 to have temporary documentation.

However, it must be noted that the issuance of the temporary documentation is only meant to facilitate or assist the stateless person in applying for access to education and health facilities in the State, not a promise to obtain Malaysian citizenship.

Also present at the press conference were Deputy Minister of Women and Childhood Development Datuk Rosey Yunus, the ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Rashidah Bolhassan, Social Development Council executive secretary Dr Zufar Yadi Brendan Abdullah, Sarawak Social Welfare Department director Noriah Ahmad and Sarawak National Registration Department director Awang Afferoz Awang Marikan. — DayakDaily