‘Not true JPN officers only sit in office’

Fatimah (second right) having a chat with recipients of new Malaysian citizenship letters. Also seen are (from right) Harden, Rosey, Jamliah and Jasni. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah has refuted claims that National Registration Department (JPN) officers did not go to the ground and only ‘sat in the office’.

In fact, she pointed out, the department had carried out various efforts including outreach programmes with the community to ensure that issues concerning personal identification documents were rectified.

“JPN has carried out operations and outreach programmes especially when it comes to resolving issues for indigenous people who do not have personal identification documents.

“From 2015 to 2017, JPN Sarawak has carried out 158 outreach programmes state-wide and they have their ways or own modus operandi,” she said when officiating at the closing ceremony of the Kuching Division ‘Program Wacana Bestari: Masalah Dokumen Pengenalan Diri’ and handing out letters of approved Malaysian Citizenship under Article 15A at a hotel here yesterday.

Fatimah disclosed that through the 158 outreach programmes, JPN Sarawak’s team of special officers received 6,784 applications.

“From this figure, 4,554 applications have been received for processing while the remaining number of applications were not accepted for various reasons after being interviewed by the department,” she said, adding that the outreach programmes organised by JPN were also assisted by local elected representatives as well as community leaders.

Apart from that, she noted that a state-level Citizenship Status under Article 15A Special Committee was formed on Aug 23, 2016 and since the formation of the committee, 297 citizenship applications were dealt with between Nov 2016 and Jan this year.

“On Nov 31, 2017, we presented 46 approval letters to the applicants at the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka here while on Feb 3, four approval letters were handed over to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“As for today (yesterday), 42 approval letters approving new Malaysian citizenships to applicants of various races and ages and from different divisions in Sarawak were handed over.”

Fatimah added that the Citizenship Status Special Committee led by her will end this year, so it is crucial for applicants to update their applications every month to be presented to the Home Ministry.

On the ‘Wacana Bestari’ programme, she said it was the first of the series to be held this year and hoped to expand the programme to other divisions.

“This includes holding the programme at border areas where we will be able to share information and prevent issues on personal identification from occurring.”

Also present were Assistant Minister of Community Wellbeing Datuk Francis Harden Hollis, Assistant Minister of Women, Family and Childhood Development Rosey Yunus, Tanjung Datu assemblywoman Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu, Opar assemblyman Datuk Ranum Mina, Bukit Assek assemblywoman Datin Irene Chang and JPN Sarawak director Jasni Jubli.

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