PETALING JAYA: A special task force has been set up by the Sarawak state National Registration Department (JPN) to assist those who do not have personal documentation in the rural areas.
A Borneo Post Online report quoted Minister of Welfare, Women and Family Development Fatimah Abdullah as saying that the task force would go to the rural areas to find out how many people did not have personal documents and prepare them.
There are an estimated 2,000 people without proper documentation in the state and they were considered stateless.
Fatimah said without proper documentation, it would be difficult for the affected people to receive government aid including education or welfare assistance.
She said reasons which contributed to stateless children included failures to register births immediately , no proper marriage registration of parents or a lack of child-adoption registration.
“Stateless children have been an issue in the state. Because of the complexity of different cases, it has been a challenge for JPN to resolve the problem,” she said adding birth certificates did not equate to automatic citizenship, especially when there was no proper marriage registration.
The task force which has been active since Jan 1 this year, will be operational until Dec 31 2017, and has so far been to Sri Aman, Belaga and Tatau.