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Fear of arrest forces woman to stay home

 | July 4, 2012

T Kamala Devi is not a wanted criminal. The 49-year-old woman does not possess a MyKad and this has caused her much problems.

PETALING JAYA: For years, T Kamala Devi, who hails from Sungai Siput in Perak, hardly left her house due to the fear of being arrested for not possessing a MyKad.

Kamala’s case was unique as her application for a valid Mykad had been hampered for over 30 years due to her Indian-born mother’s legal entry permit to Malaysia issued in 1963 having gone missing.

The second of five children, Kamala was born in India and migrated to Malaysia in 1963 when she was a one year old toddler together with her mother Kaveri Ammah and older brother T Subramaniam who was five then. They entered the country with a valid entry permit.

Married to a Malaysian, her mother was issued a red IC given to permanent residents and later she managed to convert this to a blue MyKad. Even Subramaniam who has since passed away held a blue MyKad. He applied for his identity card using his mother’s legal entry permit.

Kamala however found herself in quandary when her mother’s permit went missing. Her numerous attempts to apply for a valid identification card since the late 1970s proved futile.

Mother is bewildered

Speaking to FMT, her mother said: “We have gone to every extent to prove that she is my daughter and we engaged a lawyer to assist us with this matter.

“We also spent RM1,500 on a biological test with the Chemistry Department to show scientific proof,” she added, expressing bewilderment as to why the authorities still emphasised on the missing entry permit.

Clutching a bag full of documents, she said: “I have an identity card, her brother who was not born here has an identity card. So what is the problem?”

Kaveri lamented that the money spent in pursuit of an identity card could have been used for her daughter’s future instead.

“I could have used that money for her wedding,” she said, adding that Kamala was still single because potential suitors were concerned about her not having a Mykad.

Life wasted due to red tapes

Sungai Siput MP Dr Micheal Jeyakumar, who had taken up the case, told FMT that this was unlike other cases of stateless persons.

The Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leader explained that in some cases, the parents might have been too apathetic to register their children.

“Due to substance abuse, living in isolated areas or even in some cases the parents may not be proficient in the Malay language and can’t follow the Malay spoken by [the National Registration Department] staff, so the parents give up.

“But in Kamala’s case, it is bureaucratic red tape that hinders her from getting a MyKad.

“The NRD acknowledged the existence of the entry permit because both the brother and mother registered using the same document. They issued identification cards to them. So why can’t they do the same for Kamala?

“Imagine, her whole life has been wasted due to a solvable bureaucratic problem,” he said.

Kamala had to drop out after a year in primary school due to family commitments. She was currently unemployed.

She told FMT that despite living in Malaysia all these years, she had never gone out for sight-seeing.

“There is a fear when I leave the house. What if the police or other authorities catch me? So I just stay home. But I am tired of this,” she said.


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