KUCHING: Disallowing stateless children in the state to have MyKad has been described as inhumane.
“It is also a waste of valuable human resource,” said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing.
What does it mean to be stateless? A stateless person is someone who, under national laws, does not enjoy citizenship – the legal bond between a government and an individual – in any country.
As examples, Masing mentioned some stateless people in Long Singut, Kapit who are second or third generation of migrants from Kalimantan.
“Many of the stateless children are very smart but cannot go beyond secondary school. At least in Kapit that’s what is happening.
“Nor can they be employed when they become adults because they do not have MyKad. Their future is bleak, which is a worrying factor,” he said today (Aug 24).
Masing was responding to a report by Sarawak Public Communication Unit (Ukas) which quoted senior lecturer in the Faculty of Cognitive Science, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Dr Nor Mazlina Ghazali who found during her ‘Comprehensive Study on the Causative Factors Leading to Stateless Children in Sarawak’ that the parents were very worried about their children’s education.
Last Monday, Dr Nor talked with two stateless children and their parents at Tatau District Office and Tatau administrative officer, Winnie Dian, concerning a number of issues related to stateless children in the district.
Masing, who is also Baleh assemblyman, pointed out that for years the state has made efforts to get certain stateless children registered as ‘Anak Malaysia’ (Malaysian children).
“I don’t know why the National Registration Department (NRD) and related authorities are amendable or responsive to the idea.
“Because of the reluctance of the relevant authorities in Sarawak to handle the matter, Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Wilson Ugak and I flew to Kuala Lumpur to meet with the then Minister of Home Affairs Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, who was empowered to solve the problem.
“Later (in August), I suggested to our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and the NRD Sarawak director to visit Long Singut. They did visit and saw for themselves the situation at that time,” he said.
After that visit, Hamzah, Abang Johari and NRD Sarawak agreed to process the MyKad applications of the people concerned.
“Both Wilson and I are now waiting anxiously for the results,” he said.
Last April, Masing called upon the authorities to address the predicament of 729 stateless residents of Long Singut.
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