KAPIT: It is of paramount importance that parents make every effort to register their children within a month of birth.
Having no valid Malaysian identification documents deprive children of the privileges of being Malaysian citizens which result in immeasurable suffering and deny them the chance of education.
A typical example of the numerous problems faced by stateless Sarawakians is related by a 42-year-old man from Belaga identified as Bang Ajang.
“My father who died a few years ago and mother, who both had Malaysian identity cards, were residing in the remote interior of Belaga. When I was born, they didn’t report my birth immediately at the nearest National Registration Department office.
“When I grew up I asked them why. They explained it was the treacherous journey of walking through the jungle and taking a longboat to Belaga.”
He said among his siblings only some have citizenship documents.
“Three have the documents while others are stateless,” he said.
He said that he had registered with the mobile registration counter but have yet to receive news of his application till now.
He said it was very difficult to get work and register with Social Security Organisation (Socso) and Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
“I am now attached to a logging company as a lumberjack. But because I don’t have an identity card, I couldn’t register with Socso and EPF. I also can’t open an insurance account and bank account,” he lamented.
He also lamented that he could not register one of his children who is handicapped with the Welfare Department as a special needs child (OKU) because he had no valid Malaysian document.
Bang Ajang is not an isolated case in Kapit Division because there are many others who face the same problem.