KOTA KINABALU: Misunderstanding of the laws and procedures on the issuance of birth certificate, identification card and citizenship has caused confusion and consternation towards the National Registration Department (NRD).
NRD public relations officer Jainisah Mohd Noor said many have the wrong impression while others do not have a clue at all about the regulations and processes involved but instead blamed the department when their applications were rejected for not meeting the stipulated requirements.
She said some people, for example, did not know that having been born in Malaysia and registered for a birth certificate does not automatically qualify their children for citizenship.
The constitution states that a child is considered a Malaysian citizen when both or one of the parents are legally recognized as Malaysian or a holder of permanent resident status. However, she highlighted there were other matters that needed to be taken into account before the child can be given Malaysian citizenship.
“To determine the status of the child, we will also look at the marriage status of the parents. In cases where the marriage is not legally registered and the mother is a non-citizen, the child would not qualify for citizenship, even if the father is a Malaysian.
“However, if the mother is a permanent resident or Malaysian, the child would automatically be Malaysian, even if the father is not and the marriage is not legally recognized or registered. In other words, the status of the mother would determine the status of the child when there is no marriage certificate.
“In cases where a marriage certificate is obtained and registered with the NRD after the child was born, the child in question would still not qualify as a Malaysian, because we are bound with the fact that she or he was born before that,” she said, during a media briefing on “Malaysian Identification Card Evolution” at Wisma Dang Bandang here yesterday.
According to Jainisah, many locals married to foreigners in Sabah did not know this and were frustrated when their children were given a Red IC instead of a Blue IC.
She admitted there were cases where parents were confused after several of their children were given permanent resident status but their other children who were born after their marriage had been registered with the NRD were given full citizenship.
The parents would usually demand for the same status to be given to their older children and would be disappointed when their demand is not met, thinking that the NRD had made a mistake and was refusing to admit and rectify it.
Meanwhile, Jainisah stressed that it is important that the birth and death of every individual is registered with the NRD regardless of their status, as this will provide vital information that would help the authorities in planning development or other programmes in the country.
On the status of natives, she said it was not for the NRD to determine as the department is only responsible for citizenship matters.
Earlier Jainisah explained the various changes and improvement that have been introduced to all three types of Malaysian Identification cards, namely the Blue IC (for citizen), Red IC (permanent resident) and Green IC (temporary resident).
She said the security features used have evolved since the first Malaysian citizen card bearing serial number 000001 (orange in colour back then) was issued to Tun Mustapha in 1963.
The latest IC used today is the seventh version with several new and upgraded features that are nearly impossible to forge, including microtext, laser imprinted photo and text, secureguard hologram and tone down printing.
Asked if NRD had carried out any effort to review the status of IC holders to help the Election Commission remove names of deceased individuals from the voters list, she said the department continuously updates its databases whenever a death is reported. The information is available for the EC or any other government agencies to refer to for updating their own databases, she added.
However, she said the NRD can only change the status of a person to ‘deceased’ and issue a death certificate after the receiving information supported with proper documentation or proof that the person has died.