PUTRAJAYA: A committee has been set up to examine the issue of long-standing applications for citizenship, Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said today.
He said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had agreed to the establishment of the committee involving the home and the human resources ministries.
“The committee will look into issues related to citizenship, red identity cards and several pending cases that have yet to be resolved as pledged in the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto,” he said.
Muhyiddin said the cases involved the Indian community and others including the Malays who had yet to get their citizenship despite having been born in Malaysia or having stayed for a long time in the country.
He had made a visit to the National Registration Department accompanied by newly appointed deputy minister Mohd Azis Jamman.
He said the ministry was confident it could resolve some of the outstanding applications in a matter of two weeks and present the citizenship documents to the applicants.
Muhyiddin said the National Registration Department had received over 200,000 applications for citizenship, with a portion of these being old cases that had been pending due to various issues.
“Some of these cases are old. The applicants were born in the country but have no documents, whether they are Chinese or Indian, aged 60 or 70. We promise to resolve these cases based on legislation and humanitarian grounds,” he said.
The minister also said that there was a proposal to appoint community leaders in the interior areas, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, such as village heads or “tuai rumah panjang” (longhouse chiefs), as assistants to register births or issue identity cards.
He said the ministry would look into the department’s technological capabilities to expedite the issuing of identity cards to 30 minutes from the present 45 minutes to two hours.
On a suggestion by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to raise the legal age for marriage for girls from 16 to 18, Muhyiddin said the ministry would look into the matter from the legal aspect.
Wan Azizah had made the suggestion after a 41-year-old man took an 11-year-old girl as his third wife in Kelantan recently.