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No blue MyKad, no school

 | April 26, 2012

The Form 5 student may never get the chance to sit her SPM this year.

PETALING JAYA: Student B Reshina, 17, is studying hard for the SPM this year but she may never get to sit the examination.

For she has just received the shocking news – she must stop schooling all because she does not have a blue MyKad.

Reshina (picture right) was one of the many Indians in the country who are stateless because the National Registration Department (NRD) has refused to grant citizenship for vague reasons.

She together with several other families were brought to the PKR headquarters here today to relate their ordeal as stateless Indians.

Speaking on Reshina’s behalf, her sister, Gowre, 24, said two weeks ago, Reshina’s school in Gombak, Chong Hwa Secondary School, stopped her from schooling after receiving instruction from the state education department.

“The state education department should not have stopped my sister from going to school as she is preparing for the SPM,” she said.

“Reshina was told that those without a blue identity card cannot study in schools. Although some of her teachers protested, the school could do nothing as it was a directive from the department,” Gowre said.

Reshina had since temporarily stopped schooling but her family is working to get the decision reversed.

No standard rule

Gowre, a clerk, claimed that the NRD refused to grant Reshina a blue MyKad because of the uncertain citizenship status of their mother, A Maria.

She said that their mother left the family many years ago and did not leave behind documents to prove her (Maria’s) citizenship.

“Although my father holds a blue identity card, our mother’s status is unknown and we are not able to locate her,” Gowre said.

Her mother’s citizenship is stated as “bukan warganegara” (not a citizen) in Reshina’s birth certificate.

Gowre said while she and another older sister hold blue MyKads, Reshina and their unemployed brother Dhinesh Kumar were not granted citizenship.

She added that the NRD did not seem to have a standard rule in awarding citizenship.

“When we asked the NRD in 2007 about this, we were told the rules have since changed. Now, it seems the applicant’s mother must be a citizen for the children to be given a blue MyKad,” she said.

In February, Gowre said they made a fresh application to Putrajaya but have yet to receive any reply.

Meanwhile, Reshina said she hoped the matter can be sorted out as she wants to go back to school as soon as possible.

“I hope I can get back to school so that I can sit for my SPM,” she said.

Deprived of basic right

Another stateless Indian, bank officer G Vasantha Lakshmi, 27, holds a red MyKad, although she was born in Kuala Lumpur Hospital in 1985.

(Holders of red MyKads are categorised as permanent residents.)

Speaking on behalf of Vasantha, her mother S Selvi Lingam said she adopted Vasantha (picture right) from a welfare department in Kedah.

“The department didn’t have her birth certificate and gave us an adoption certificate instead. So we had to do all the work to get her a birth certificate,” Selvi said.

But in 1996, much to Selvi’s horror, a senior registrar at the Petaling Jaya NRD officer declared Vasantha a non-citizen and stamped the status on the latter’s adoption paper.

“It has been a nightmare since then. Despite numerous attempts to meet the officer, she refused to meet us and only sent her clerk to see us,” Selvi said.

She said that she also went to several government departments to seek help but to no avail.

Since then, Vasantha had been living with a red MyKad.

“We even approached former MIC secretary-general S Rajagopalu in 1997 for help, but he told us that we should be grateful that Vasantha has a red identity card,” Selvi claimed.

Vasantha said that she submitted a fresh application for MyKad to the NRD in Putrajaya in 2009 and was called for an interview in March 2010.

She added that an officer asked her what she would do if she was awarded citizenship.

“I told him I will vote for the country. I also told him that I wanted to further my studies and buy a house for my mother,” Vasantha said.

But to her dismay, her application was again rejected in July 2011. No reason was given.

Selvi said she was fed up with the entire ordeal and is thinking of filing a civil suit against the government for depriving her daughter of a basic right.

“Her employer wanted to send her overseas for training in the past, but she was unable to go as she could not get a passport,” she said.

Also read:

Stateless Indians: PKR shows proof


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