SEB assists Murum folk obtain MyKad, birth certs

NOT STATELESS ANYMORE: Sylvester (second row, second left) presenting one of the Penans her long awaited MyKad.

KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) in collaboration with the National Registration Department successfully assisted folks in Murum, Belaga to obtain their MyKad and birth certificates.

This was in line with the company’s commitment to drive Sarawak’s thriving socio-economic development.

A press statement from SEB yesterday disclosed that they had to date helped with registration of MyKad for 405 persons and birth certificates, 434 persons.

The efforts, which began in 2009 and intensified over 2011 and 2012, had successfully issued MyKad and birth certificates for Penans and Kenyahs from Long Wat, Long Malim, Long Menapa, Long Uba, Long Singu, Long Luar and Long Tangau in Murum.

The high number of unregistered Penans and Kenyahs in the area was discovered by Sarawak Energy during its many engagement activities with the people for the Murum Hydroelectric Dam Project.

Some of the key reasons hindering rural folk from obtaining identification were poverty, distance and lack of familiarity with governmental procedures. There are now only around 31 Penans (14 unregistered with birth certs and 17 unregistered with MyKad) more to go.

Resettlement officer for Murum Bit Surang who disclosed this during their visit to the ground recently said, “This is our 12th visit to Murum to help the Penans and Kenyahs to register as legal Malaysian citizens and I am delighted on how fast the issue has been curbed.”

Working closely with the NRD, local community leaders and village heads, our efforts had been fruitful thus far. Sarawak Energy and the Murum Penans and Kenyahs are going to be neighbours and partners for a long time.

“We know that having proper identification documents will make life a lot easier and are confident that the resettlement arrangements will significantly improve access to education, health and basic government services.”

NRD officer Sylvester Tausin, who also took part in the visit, said he was pleased with the effort made by the Sarawak Energy.

“NRD is pleased to be collaborating with Sarawak Energy in curbing the growing undocumented Malaysians in the country. I am also pleased to see the commitment put in by Sarawak Energy. From 2009, we have registered more than 90 per cent of the Penans and Kenyas in Murum.

“There are thousands of stateless people in Malaysia. Undocumented Malaysians – teenagers, working adults, the aged and children, who are all facing numerous hardships and hurdles, are being denied basic human rights due to non-possession of personal documents. Ground stories depict the human tragedy and misery faced especially for children below 18, who have major problems accessing education and health care,” he said.

The commitment by Sarawak Energy is in line with the State and Federal Governments vision of completing the registration exercise of undocumented Malaysians.

The effort also brings Malaysia closer to the compliance to UNICEF’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDRIP) – Everyone has a right to education, health and development, while UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People provides for access to land and livelihood from it.

Sarawak Energy’s IC registration initiative is only the latest example of numerous engagements and community gatherings that
have been organised over the years.

The reality of the situation contrasts starkly with the baseless allegations made by radical foreign activists who falsely claim a lack of engagement.

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