KUALA LUMPUR: Ipoh Barat MP M Kula Segaran is frustrated that the government appears to show no urgency in solving the problem of stateless Indians.
“I have raised their plight in Parliament, on the urgency to solve the issue, but to no avail,” he said in a statement today, adding there were reports of “hundreds of thousands” of stateless Indians in the country.
He asked if Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was aware that many had been wrongly denied citizenship.
“I myself was a non-citizen at age 12 and given a red IC despite my grandparents and father being born in Malaya,” said Kula. “Yet, I was still denied citizenship.”
“What more others?” he asked.
Kula recalled that he fought for his rights and was granted citizenship (blue IC) eventually. “Many others are not as fortunate as me,” he said. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
The prime minister should intervene, he said, if the home minister was not doing what should be done “in appreciation of the contribution and sacrifices by the Indian community”.
The MP was commenting on Zahid Hamidi saying, on Jan 20, that “no flexibility would be given to Indians to obtain identity cards”.
“His statement is uncalled for and insensitive,” said Kula. “What he said makes one wonder if he knows the problems of Indians without identity cards.”
He asked if Zahid felt the issue, which has caused suffering for so long to so many, could be solved if the government took a “no flexibility” stand.
Kula said he wanted to know whether Zahid was sincere in wanting to correct the injustice inflicted “on so many for so long”.
He said the least Zahid could have said was that all applications would be considered on a “case by case” basis.
“Zahid’s ‘no flexibility’ stand was not in tandem with the statement by the prime minister in August last year,” Kula said.
Last Aug 7, Kula said, Prime Minister Najib Razak had assured that he would “work towards resolving the issue of citizenship faced by Indians who were born before the country’s Independence”.
Najib added: “We will solve this in appreciation of the sacrifice of the Indian community which has contributed to the development of the country.”
In launching MIC’s 70th anniversary celebration, Kula recalled, Najib had said the time had come for those who had yet to obtain citizenship to “redeem their right”.