GEORGE TOWN: Why must BN parties such as MIC hold mass registrations for stateless Malaysians when the National Registration Department (NRD) itself has not done so, a DAP leader asked today.
DAP deputy secretary-general P Ramasamy said the NRD should hold campaigns similar to the “Mega Mydaftar” campaign for those facing problems obtaining citizenship.
Last month’s Mega Mydaftar campaign, coordinated by MIC, was a continuation of the “MyDaftar” campaign previously implemented by the government.
MIC said the campaign had registered some 2,000 people but failed to fix the larger problem of stateless children, whose number exceeds 200,000.
“It is a sad and tragic situation when Malaysians who are supposed to be citizens are denied citizenship.
“Despite being born here, they are not given their rights.
“Why must MIC hold a campaign when naturally the NRD should be holding a campaign? Why must we do it?”
Ramasamy said this at a press conference where the state Citizenship Assistance Task Force that he heads handed over identity cards and birth certificates to those who had sought its help.
Ramasamy handed over birth certificates to five children from the Sinar Bakti Home, Bukit Mertajam.
Senior citizen P Sarojini, 60, also obtained her blue identity card after a long and tedious process.
Ramasamy said the task force had assisted 870 Penangites to date since its inception on Feb 1, 2013.
However, only 42 applicants were successful in obtaining citizenship while 31 applications were rejected. The status of the rest is still unknown.
Thirteen of the 870 cases had been brought to court for judicial review, with state-appointed lawyers J Gunamalar and N Mureli pursuing the cases.
For this year alone, up to June 30, there were 77 cases reported to the task force. The Northeast district (George Town) had the highest number of cases.
Ramasamy said the cases involved five different problems and complexities in getting citizenship.
These were the late registration of birth certificates for children who had at least one Malaysian parent (114 cases), late registration for MyKad (106), conversion of permanent resident MyKad to citizen MyKad (386), immigration cases such as spouses of Malaysians (214) and others (50).
The “others” category includes applicants planning to marry a Malaysian, orphaned children, loss of MyKad, change of religion, differing religions between spouses and the amendment of names on birth certificates.
Of the 870 individuals, 413 were Chinese, followed by Indians (355), Malays (78) and others (24).
Ramasamy said Penangites with citizenship issues can contact the task force officers in charge of each district:
Northeast district, Chiam Heng Hak (04-650-5556); Southwest district, Abdul Rahim Mohamed Nor (016-482-3549); North Seberang Perai, Ketenasamy Krishnasamy (012-488-1553); Central Seberang Perai, Rachenamorty Peresamy (019-457-2271) and South Seberang Perai, Veerasamy Annamalai (012-451-5938).