Causes of statelessness in Sarawak

Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah

KUCHING: Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah today revealed the contributing factors to the number of stateless children in the state.

The Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister said one factor was improper marriages with foreign women.

“Other reasons are children being born to foreign mothers before proper marriages  as well as improper adoption,” she said.

She said if these contributing factors were reduced, then the number of stateless children would also decrease.

She was  commenting on Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak’s vow to solve the statelessness issue in Sarawak within a one-year period if it won the upcoming state election.

 On the PKR Sarawak’s vow, Fatimah said,“They once were the government. Their record speaks for itself.”

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Women chief, when contacted today (Wednesday), pointed out that citizenship was under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

She said a special taskforce called the Sarawak Special Committee on Citizenship (SSCOC) was revived this year was to help undocumented children apply for Malaysian citizenship.

“This means it helps to speed up the process — what used to take four years or more can be reduced to around one year or so.

“But then there is the last process of approval which lies solely with the Home Minister,” said Fatimah.

Earlier, PKR Sarawak Information chief Abun Sui Anyit said that since Malaysia’s formation, the government had set a timeframe to resolve the issue of statelessness. However, he said it still remained an issue up until today.