Religion not a determining factor of citizenship

Fatimah (centre) poses with the newly-launched books while (from left) SCAN secretary Chris Cheng Young Kang, president Sew Boon Lui, advisor Datin Dayang Mariani Abang Zain and medical advisor Dr Adibah Ali (breast and endocrine surgeon) look on. Photo: Ummi Munirah

KUCHING: Religion is not a determining factor in granting citizenship or identification documents, clarified Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.

She said among the factors which could cause a child’s undetermined citizenship status were the mother’s birth certificate and nationality.

“If the mother has no birth certificate, then the child will also be in the same situation. His/her nationality cannot be determined as well,” she explained.

She was speaking at a special media conference at the Baitul Makmur II Building here today.

In cases where a child was not registered at birth but the parents were Sarawakians as stated in their birth certificates, she said they could visit the National Registration Department (JPN) for late registration.

“If both parents are native Sarawakians, there is no issue — they just need to get validation from the ketua kaum or tuai rumah that the child was born at the longhouse and the woman is his/her mother,” she said.

Fatimah said she had never heard of cases where validation was not provided on the grounds of religion, but she emphasised that these community leaders had to be certain when validating such cases.

“If they give incorrect validation, they can be charged in court for providing the wrong information,” she said.