Stateless teen still hopeful for positive resolution to citizenship limbo

Masaidah (right) filling up the registration form while Mastika helps her. Bill is looking on.

SIBU, Dec 28: Sixteen-year-old Masaidah Nusain has never gone to school.

While her peers are in school, she is always at home, a simple room which her stepsister, Mastika Nusain, 24, is renting.

She longs to attend school but she can’t as she does not have an identity card. When she was 7-years-old, schools rejected her application as she had lost her birth certificate.

“I have been yearning for an identity card since I was 12-years-old. Without it, I have been facing countless problems like not being able to go to school until now,” she said.

As a stateless person, Masaidah is homeschooled by her stepsister.

Both have the same father but different mothers. Their father passed away when Masaidah was only two-years-old. Her mother, an Indonesian, has since then returned to her country.

“I could not follow her as I do not have an identification document. So I was left behind in Bintulu with my stepsister. She has been taking care of me just like a mother,” Masaidah said.

As a stateless person, Masaidah is not qualified to receive financial aid from the government.

She and her stepsister recently took a bus to Sibu to see Bill Jugah, the chairman of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) Rajang Branch as the National Registration Department (NRD) will be conducting a mobile
counter from Jan 15 to 17, 2021 at Zoobie Restaurant, opposite BukitA up Jubli Park.

Masaidah came to Sibu to register for the mobile counter.

NRD had proposed the mobile counter after Bill had brought to their attention more than 200 cases of people in the state with various documentation problems to them over a year ago.

The first day of the programme on Jan 15 is for those from rural areas including Long Singut, Engkilili, Lubok Antu, Sungai Asap, Sri Aman, Betong and Bakalan followed by those from other places for the last two days.

Bill said that the programme is for people with either green or red identity cards to apply for MyKad. Stateless children may also forward their cases during the event.

According to Bill, the statelessness issue in the state is a big one that the government must look into seriously.

He said from 200 cases that he first received, the number has since swelled to over 500.

“We are losing human resources as these stateless cannot attend school. People like Masaidah when she grows up can either be a nurse or a teacher but without an identification document, her future would be a bleak one,” said Bill.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin recently said that his ministry was giving stateless persons one year to apply for citizenship with proper documentation. — DayakDaily