KUCHING: The Sarawak government cannot determine the pace to process applications for citizenship of stateless children because the matter comes under the purview of the federal government.
Sarawak women, early childhood and community wellbeing minister Fatimah Abdullah said while it was her ministry’s wish to see the process hastened, it was being done by the home ministry, and the matter was not discussed under the present devolution of power exercise.
“The issue of citizenship, even with reference to the Inter-Governmental Committee Report, MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963) as well as the Federal Constitution, had been agreed to be a federal matter,” she said when replying to Ding Kuong Hiing (GPS-Meradong) at the state assembly today.
Ding had wanted to know whether the state government planned to speed up the process of tackling stateless children’s issues apart from just issuing temporary documents to them following the re-establishment of a Special Committee on Citizenship Status.
According to Fatimah, the special committee was formed in 2016 to facilitate the consideration of citizenship applications received in Sarawak.