Man obtains temporary identification document after 20 years of being stateless in S’wak


Chia holds up his temporary identification document. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (March 16): After 20 odd years of being stateless in Sarawak and even having been treated as an ‘outsider’ by his peers, Allen Chia could not be more grateful that he finally possessed a temporary identification document.

Beaming with smiles, he said he can now go ahead with many of his plans which he had to put on hold due to not having the legal document to prove his identity.

“I am kind of an active person. With this temporary identification document, I can make travel plans and take part in some clubs which I have previously been denied entry,” he said when met by reporters after receiving the document from the Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg during a ceremony at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Petra Jaya here today.

Chia was born to a Malaysian father and an Indonesian mother in Sibu in 2003.

He briefly stated that his family had some problems and that his parents faced some issues in acquiring the legal document for him.

“We struggled a lot in getting this (identification document) and to know who I am. During my school days, I could not take part in taekwondo tournaments and taekwondo is my passion.

“Even my instructor said that I have talent in taekwondo but without the legal document, I was forced to stop pursuing my passion. Even my friends treated me as an outsider,” said the former SMK Arang student in a recollection.

According to Chia, his parents acquired their marriage certificate only after his birth.

This led to him holding merely a birth certificate, and because he was born before his parents obtained the marriage certificate, they could not register him for MyKad.

He said he could enrol in school using his birth certificate, but his parents had to pay additional fees.

Chia has a younger sibling who was born after his parents registered their marriage. To this, he said: “As the big brother, I’m happy that my younger brother did not have to go through what I had.”

To those who are facing similar issues as he did, Chia said: “I’d say that I feel sad for those who are suffering the same fate as mine. I wish that kids in Malaysia could have the IC so that they won’t have any problem with access to education and health.”

He added that he is considering taking up higher education at the Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak here.

Also getting his temporary identification document was seven-year-old Amar Akil Darwisy, who was accompanied by his parents Awang Musa Awang Dillah, 46 and Mordiah Abon, 43.

Amar with his parents Awang Musa and Mordiah pose after being given the temporary identification document.

Awang Musa, who works as a small-time oil palm farmer, said he could not be more pleased with this timely issuance of temporary legal document since Amar will be attending Primary One starting next week.

The family hails from Kampung Semilang, Beliong in Asajaya near here.

According to Mordiah, who is a homemaker, Amar is not their biological child.

“Seven years ago, I went shopping with my sister at a hypermarket in Batu Kawa. As we detoured from the hypermarket to a departmental store, a woman suddenly came up to us with a seven-day-old infant, saying that she wanted to give him away for adoption.

“And we took him in, it happened just like that,” she said, adding that they did not have any child of their own back then and until today, Amar is the only child they have.

Mordiah said they did not know Amar’s biological parents but were aware that he was born in Sarawak.

As such, they went through the trouble to get a birth certificate for Amar as they decided to adopt him.

According to her, it took them two years to apply for citizenship for Amar and they are so happy that they have now obtained the temporary identification document.

“We are thankful to the Premier of Sarawak for this initiative as Amar can now have access to health services. Previously, we had to pay RM40 per visit to the clinic and RM80 per injection,” the mother added.