Sunday, March 24

Resolving issue of stateless children in Sarawak

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The Sarawak PH delegation seen with Muhyiddin (fourth right) during the courtesy call. Chong is at third right while Dr Yii second right.

KUCHING: Pakatan Harapan Sarawak (Sarawak PH) is working closely with the Home Affairs Ministry to address the issue of stateless children in Sarawak in order to work out a more effective policy direction and standard operating procedure (SOP) for these stateless children to apply for Malaysian citizenship.

A delegation of a few elected representatives led by Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen has met up with Home Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to discuss a few matters including the urgency of resolving the issues of stateless children in Sarawak as well as other categories of application to obtain proper identification cards (ICs) in the state.

According to a press release issued by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, there are different categories to the issue of obtaining proper ICs or citizenship and Sarawak PH discussed on the process of registration under Article 15(a) of the Federal Constitution where the Federal Government may, in such special circumstances as it thinks fit, cause any person under the age of 21 years to be registered as a citizen, especially in the case of adoption or children born before the registration of marriage by their parents.

The discussion also included the application for citizenship under Article 19 for those above 21 years old and Article 15(2) in cases where one of the parents is a citizen.

A task force has already been set up in Sarawak but results have been less than encouraging and the issue still continues to persist.

“That is why we are pushing for greater urgency and a better SOP to not just make it more convenient for the public to apply if they have a legitimate reason to do so, but also to lessen the processing time of the application,” added the press release.

Another issue discussed is the need to make the application process more transparent so that the applicants will be informed of the reason if their application is rejected.

This way, the applicants will know how to proceed next and prepare better for the next application.

“Currently, once a rejection notice is served, there is no reason given for all the rejections, and this has caused much confusion and inconvenience for the applicants especially if they were to apply again as they do not know what to do differently in their application or which document is missing or incomplete.

“This is to better prepare them for their further application and to get ready the necessary documents for the next application,” said the press release.

The press release also said Muhyiddin had given Sarawak PH positive response and assured that his ministry is working towards addressing the issues that have been raised.

“They will be arranging further engagements and meetings with us and all the different stakeholders including the relevant departments to find a way to properly address this issue while also addressing the concerns some may have over the whole citizenship application process,” added the press release.