Wednesday, October 23

Sarawak won’t be able to include DNA in birth certs — Fatimah

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Fatimah shows a report from The Borneo Post on the DNA proposal during the press conference.

KUCHING: Sarawak would not be able to apply the proposed inclusion of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) information in birth certificates, said Minister of Welfare, Community Welfare, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.

She called on the federal government to review the National Registration Department’s (JPN) proposal by taking into account in Sarawak’s requirements, and situation.

Fatimah pointed out there are still many cases of Sarawakians, in particular from indigenous communities, without identity documents.

She said implementing the DNA proposal would merely exacerbate existing problems for such individuals.

“This is not the first time the federal government has introduced a new policy or directive every time there is a problem in Peninsular Malaysia and for me, this a blanket rule for all as it only addresses issues in Peninsular Malaysia, without taking into account the context of Sarawak and its people,” she told a press conference yesterday.

“In Sarawak, there are still cases of indigenous people with no birth certificate and MyKad. Such cases really exist in Sarawak.”

Fatimah pointed out that the Home Ministry set up a Special Taskforce (PPK) at the federal level in 2015 to help resolve the issue and JPN Sarawak was instructed to cooperate with the PPK to meet with the people in rural and interior areas to help them obtain identification documents in accordance with JPN’s standard operating procedure (SOP).

From 2015 to November 2018, PPK ran 204 operations and 4,864 of the over 7,000 applications were approved with the remainder failing and/or still under consideration.

In addition, the PPK also conducted special operations in Penan areas – 75 as of May 2018 with 1,559 applications received, 1,079 successful, 369 failed, and 93 still under consideration.

Fatimah said sadly the PPK, comprising various agencies including the Immigration Department, was abolished this year.

“With the abolition of the PPK, we are deeply saddened because late registration can no longer be made at the state JPN. The PPK on the other hand has been established to be effective, many are getting birth certificates and valid identity cards.

“PPK also showed that Sarawak has its own needs, contexts, and situation as this is not about politics but about helping the people,” she added.

On Monday, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in a press statement that a DNA data bank had been proposed with the information to be included in birth certificates to curb the sale of MyKad and birth certificates to foreigners.

In addition, Muhyiddin said the ministry would streamline JPN’s delivery system including tightening the existing SOP and immediately stopping late registration at state JPNs by only implementing it at JPN headquarters for review and balance.