Citizenship applications: No need for special unit – NRD
by Murib Morpi. Posted on September 12, 2012, Wednesday
KOTA KINABALU: There is no need for the setting up a special unit to handle citizenship applications by Sabahans born in Brunei as their cases are already being handled through existing procedures, according to the National Registration Department (NRD).
State NRD director Ismail Ahmad said the department was on top of things and working to help eligible Brunei-born Sabahans with their application for Malaysian citizenship.
He said to date the department had received 172 citizenship applications from individuals with native Sabahan parents who were born in Brunei, including those born before the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
He said the applications were made between 1998 and 2012 and out of the figure, 81 had already been approved, 24 rejected, 11 cancelled and 56 still being processed.
“We are looking into the remaining applications and they are being processed based on laws provided under the Constitution, in this case Article 19(1) and Article 15(1) as the applicants are currently holding the red IC or MyPR.
“These are Sabahans who were born overseas (Brunei) but given only permanent resident status when they return to the state,” he told reporters during the department’s Hari Raya open house here, yesterday.
Ismail also explained that the applicants rejected were ones who do not qualify for citizenship while the cancelled applications were from individuals who need not go through the application process as they were already Malaysian citizens.
He added the applications were mostly made after the individuals involved returned to Sabah with their families who previously worked in Brunei, and the approval delay was caused by lack of proper documentation.
He explained that by rights, children of Malaysian parents who were born outside of the country are considered Malaysian citizens and should have no problem applying for citizenship status provided they have the proper documentation from the Malaysian embassy, consulate or liaison in the country of birth.
Difficulties only arise when the applicants do not have these documents or born before 1963 but such cases were also being processed based on special consideration.
“Our Embassy (or Consul or liaison representatives for those without embassy) will issue a form and a birth certificate.
“The issue is if the parents, for instance taking the Brunei situation, did not go through this process and so the child is brought ‘illegally’ out of Brunei, meaning no papers.
“This is when the difficulty starts in the child getting a Malaysian citizenship. But they are lucky that our government is considerate and allows them to be given citizenship,” he said when commenting on United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation’s (Upko) call for the setting up of the special unit to help address the plight of Brunei-born Sabahans who are still awaiting their citizenship approvals.
Upko Citizenship and Security Bureau chief Datuk Donald Peter Mojuntin in making the call last week said the individuals involved should be automatically given Malaysian citizenship as their their parents are Sabahans.
“Since there are only 56 applications left, we feel there is no need for such unit as they are only awaiting approvals,” he added.
Ismail revealed that Mojuntin had also met up with him recently to give a list of 15 complainants who have yet to get their citizenship status.
He said actually the names were already on the list of applicants currently being processed and their appeals have been forwarded to the department’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to expedite their applications.