KOTA SAMARAHAN: The decision by Home Ministry discontinue the Sarawak Special Committee on Citizenship under Article 15A is one that is politicised.
“I believe it is highly probable that it was politicised by the Ministry. There are hidden hands that could have led to that decision,” said Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
She was interviewed by reporters at the sidelines of OKU Got Talent at a shopping mall here yesterday on the dissolution of the committee, which was issued by Home Ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim in a letter on July 22.
In the letter, Alwi mentioned that all cases in of citizenship matters must be referred to or re-submitted to the Home Ministry for coordination purposes.
“When I met the Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in a courtesy call on Feb 22, he insisted that the committee should continue as he believes that is for the good of Sarawak, but am saddened that they have come to this decision.
“Because I have fought very hard for the committee, I have worked very hard for this, my staff can testify to that. It is not for me, but for the children.
Fatimah who is also PBB Women Chief revealed that there was a previous letter from the Home Ministry mentioning that Sarawak DAP Chairman Chong Chieng Jen requested that his DAP colleagues, Senator Alan Ling, Lanang MP Alice Lau and Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong be included in the committee.
“I countered the proposal by insisting that Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang be included instead as we have worked together on adoption issues, a contributing factor of the stateless issue,” she explained.
Fatimah expressed her disappointment as with the committee being dissolved, applications on citizenship status would be lumped together with the others and our applicants are no longer special.
“Myself and two other assistant ministers form the committee, we don’t make the decisions, it is still under the approval of the Home Minister.
“The applications that we received, we go through it and endorse it. We ensure that the applications are as complete as possible so that when it is forwarded to Putrajaya, it would not be rejected due to incomplete documents.
“From that we can also infer which cases are approved and rejected, from that we can do advocacy by ourselves.
“I hope that the decision will be reversed by the Home Minister himself, such issue should not be politicised.
“I as the Minister, I formed the committee as it is my responsibility and it was for the benefit of Sarawakians,” expressed Fatimah.
Fatimah revealed that the Sarawak Special Committee on Citizenship under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution was formed in October 2016 with 723 applications received since its inception and 127 applicants have received their citizenship to date.