Friday, August 23

Exempt the poor applying for citizenship from DNA test fee — Assistant Minister

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Lee checks the documents brought by Ida.

MIRI: Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Arts Datuk Lee Kim Shin calls upon the federal government to exempt poor Sarawakians from the RM1,400 fee to conduct DNA test meant to support the application for Malaysian citizenship.

He opines that the National Registration Department (NRD) should absorb this cost in that it adds to the financial burden of the applicants, who are already disadvantaged in their application for identification documents.

“The department should exempt this (RM1,400 fee). There are many out there who have been asked to undergo such testing due to a number of circumstances such as having their marriage conducted according to native customs, and not having any certificate of marriage,” he said when met after the ground-breaking ceremony for a multi-purpose hall project at SJKC Chung HuaTudan here yesterday.

Lee was approached by Ida Martin, 40, whose two elder daughters are still without birth certificates and identity cards despite having reached the ages of 17 and 11, respectively, this year. It is learnt that the parents did not have their certificate of marriage when the girls were born.

However, Ida’s youngest daughter, aged two years and three months, possesses a birth certificate.

“My eldest daughter is always embarrassed whenever her teacher asks for her identity card. The JPN requires her to undergo a DNA test, which we cannot afford,” she said.

Ida has a certificate of marriage issued by the Native Court in 2002. In response, Lee pledged to take up her case to the relevant authorities, but he also hoped that the authorities would exercise jurisprudence in dealing with cases where the applicants could not afford the required DNA test.