KUCHING: Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has thanked the federal government for having approved the reinstatement of the Sarawak Special Committee on Citizenship (SSCOC) which will assist undocumented children when they apply for Malaysian citizenship.
Its secretary general Libat Langub said in a statement on Friday (Apr 9) that the SSCOC will be co-chaired by Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah and a deputy home minister.
“This will undoubtedly speed up the citizenship application process,” said Libat.
He then lauded Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing for bringing up the issue of undocumented children of Long Singut, Bukit Mabong, Kapit, Sarawak and urged the National Registration Department to visit the areas and address the problems.
Libat added that there are probably similar issues across the state and Long Singut is just one of them.
“Many of those who are affected are voiceless and go unnoticed,” he said in the statement.
Libat suggested that community leaders in the relevant area can highlight these problems to the relevant authorities.
On behalf of DCCI, he congratulated Fatimah for signing a memorandum of understanding with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Holdings Sdn Bhd for research projects such as ‘A Comprehensive Study on the Causative Factors Leading to Stateless Children in Sarawak’ which would aid the Ministry to derive policies and programmes that will help these children.
When addressing the issues of mixed marriages between non-natives and native Sarawakians, DCCI hopes that the state government would resolve the issues as their children are deemed stateless in the eyes of the law.
“A child of either male or female native parent belongs to the native community. They may be entitled to inherit things from their parents whether native customary rights land, native titled land, or any other personal properties,” said Libat.
He then added that the Land and Survey Department, however, has taken a stricter approach on the transfers of native titled land which then deprives mixed-parentage children of their rights, identities and ancestral heritage.
“DCCI urge the government to amend the existing law, recognising children from mixed marriages between non-natives and natives, be they the fathers or mothers, as natives of Sarawak and to give directives to the Land and Survey Department to accept registration of transfers of native titled land to the children,” Libat said.
He said that ethnic groups such as Bakong, Bemali, Berawan, Dali, Jatti Miriek, Kiput or Lakiput, Narum, Saban, Tatau and Tring should also be recognised and be listed as natives of Sarawak.