State, federal government to jointly chair citizenship committee

Fatimah Abdullah

KUCHING: The revived Sarawak Special Committee on Citizenship under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution will be jointly chaired by the state and federal governments starting this year.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said she and Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Ismail Mohamed Said would chair the committee.

“Citizenships of children are important in order for them to enjoy universal basic rights, especially on education, and to have a name, identity and nationality.

“I would like to thank Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and the Home Ministry for re-establishing the special committee,” she told a press conference today.

Fatimah said the committee convened a meeting in Putrajaya last Tuesday to present the new terms of reference as well as to evaluate and recommend citizenship applications under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution.

She said the meeting discussed 101 citizenship applications from Sarawak from 2019 to 2020.

“My ministry will conduct more awareness programmes on issues that can cause citizenship problems under 15A in our society, especially in rural areas that lack access to government services,” she said.

The minister said the next meeting would be held in Kuching next month. The meetings would be held monthly until the number of applications had decreased.

“It should be noted that this committee only approves citizenship application recommendations under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution. The final decision rests with the Home Affairs Minister,” she said.

Fatimah added that applications for citizenship now must be submitted to the National Registration Department (NRD) Sarawak instead of to Kuala Lumpur.

“This is to ensure that the forms are complete. There will be a checklist that will be used at NRD level to avoid submissions of applications with insufficient documents,” she said.