PUTRAJAYA: The home ministry is taking proactive measures to resolve problems involving citizenship applications, particularly for children without documents.
Its minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, said the standard operating procedures (SOP) concerning such applications have been improved without the applicant having to wait too long, as was the case previously.
Under the revised SOP, he said, the adoption process has also been speeded up to less than a year.
“In the past, there were complaints that the processing took up to 10 years. If the child has no valid document, this would pose numerous problems. This is what we are trying to resolve,” he told Bernama.
Muhyiddin said every application for citizenship would be considered in a more meticulous, fair and speedy manner.
For example, he said, there are now clearer guidelines in handling and considering an application.
He said the updated SOP, which had been studied since April, contains a “notification mechanism” regarding the reason or reasons for the rejection of an application, and the period the processing of an application will take.
Beginning next year, a citizenship application for an individual aged below 21 will go through a more efficient process, taking a maximum of three-and-a-half months at the National Registration Department (JPN) and eight months at the home ministry.
Muhyiddin said the revised SOP would allow JPN and the ministry to carry out their tasks in a more transparent manner and speed up every process, based on fairness, compared to instances where an applicant had to wait for up to 10 years previously.
He also said the ministry has formed a special task force to speed up and resolve all matters concerning citizenship applications.
The task force, led by the deputy secretary-general, is handling 27,000 cases and is expected to resolve a major portion by early next year.
JPN received 111,142 citizenship applications from 2013 to 2018. It rejected 26,222 while 54,222 were still being processed, including 27,835 cases involving children.