Zahid: Applications of stateless children in Sarawak to be resolved by Dec 1

KUCHING, Nov 5: All citizenship applications of stateless children forwarded to the Home Ministry by the Sarawak government will be resolved by Dec 1.

This provided they meet the necessary requirements, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He gave his assurance that the ministry will look at all the hundreds of cases that have been compiled by the state through a special task force set up in 2015 between several state and federal agencies including the National Registration Department (NRD).

“We have set a target of Dec 1 to approve all applications for MyKad or birth certificate that meet the requirement. After Dec 1, NRD will continue to look at leftover cases (that failed to meet the requirement) and fresh cases so that they can be solved immediately.

“We want to solve problems of all stateless children and individuals in Sarawak by September 2018,” he told a press conference after a work visit to the state police headquarters here today (Sunday).

Dr Ahmad Zahid said MyKad applications of the interior people including the Penans, that have been compiled by a taskforce led by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun, will also be looked into.

“A coordinated meeting was held between my Home Ministry and Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah (Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister) on stateless children issues.

“We are serious in resolving this long-standing issue, where some of the children born in Sarawak but not having the proper documentation could not even go to school. Even those aged above 21 now are having complications when applying for jobs,” he continued.

Dr Ahmad Zahid noted that chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and his predecessor, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, had been asking the Home Ministry to resolve the issue with stateless individuals and children.

Meanwhile, Fatimah was reported as saying there were many children, mostly from the rural areas, unable to continue their studies because they do not possess a MyKad despite being Malaysians.

These students can’t even enjoy other government aid including textbook assistance, food aid and monetary allowance under the Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pelajar, she added.

Fatimah said most of these children failed to obtain citizenship due to their parent’s improper marriage process, especially when their mother is a foreigner. A child born before the parents register their marriage with NRD will be listed the mother’s nationality even if the father is Malaysian. — DayakDaily