Datuk Lawrence Lai

MIRI: Former Miri mayor, Datuk Lawrence Lai, lauded the effort made by Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah to revive the Sarawak Special Committee on Citizenship Status.

“With its revival, this would expedite applications for citizenship as the committee is responsible for screening and reviewing applications before submitting them to the Home Affairs Ministry,” Lai said in a statement on yesterday.

The Sarawak Special Committee on Citizenship Status was discontinued by the Pakatan Harapan federal government last year.

“The issue (citizenship) is a fundamental and basic right for every Sarawakian, especially those stateless children or adults, as long as they are genuine cases, they should not be deprived of citizenship due to technical or bureaucratic reasons such as the child was born before the parents’ marriage was registered, or due to unregistered birth, or the parents’ marriage was not registered or under native customs,” he said.

It is understood that applications for citizenship may take up to five years to be processed, thus causing much hardship to be families concerned.

Lai believed that the committee would not only help to facilitate and expedite applications but also assist those whose applications had yet to be cleared.

“The above case shows that the state government, led by Gabungan Parti Sarawak, is heading in the right direction in looking after the interest of all Sarawakians, and should be supported by every Sarawakian, and every political party,” he said.

He hoped that all Sarawak politicians, although from different political parties, would not object to any policies or projects simply for the sake of objection.

“Instead, they should all unite and work together to carry out any government policies or projects as long as they are beneficial to the people of Sarawak.”