Late birth certs: State law the way
System of making police report, statuory declaration can be easily abused :SLA
Sabah’s own existing Ordinance for late birth certificate registration should be used in processing identity card applications, according to Sabah Law Association (SLA) President Datuk John Sikayun. He reckoned that the Registration of Birth and Death Ordinance 1948 (CAP 123) of the State is the right process to use in registering late birth certificates. The State Ordinance, said John, clearly provides a process of law in which a Magistrate has to ascertain whether the applicant is a genuine Malaysian citizen. John said the system of lodging a police report and making a statutory declaration to obtain a birth certificate in applying for a Malaysian identity card is not right as Sabahans its own ordinance. “Lodging a police report and making a statutory declaration could be easily abused; we believe the State Ordinance be used as it involves inquiry by a Magistrate before a person is given the status of Malaysian,” he said yesterday. John, who said the State Ordinance still exists and could be used, suggested that the NRD should follow the Mobile Court to the various rural areas in helping people obtain their ICs. He said currently the Mobile Court introduced in March were helping to conduct inquiries for applicants of late birth certificate where applicants need to bring five witnesses, including the midwife and village head. John said this amidst the controversy of many non-Malaysians obtaining identity cards through the system of police report and statutory declaration where the background of many holders of ICs is being questioned. Meanwhile, newly appointed Sabah NRD Director Abdul Jaffear Henry said that they followed the Mobile Court in assisting rural folks in obtaining their documents “May be there are times, we are unable to make it due to manpower shortage but we try to make it,” he said, adding that the Mobile Court informed them of its trips to rural areas. On the issue of using the state ordinance in ascertaining genuine applicants for late birth registrations, Abdul Jaffear said he needed to check on the law on such matters. Recently, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar announced the setting up of the Special Unit at the National Registration Department (NRD) and Immigration Department to expedite the clearing of backlog of applications for citizenship and permanent residents’ status. He said the Unit was set up following numerous complaints, especially in Sabah of applicants being kept waiting for too long to get their applications processed. It must be stressed that the applications could not simply approved as there are rules and regulations which have to be observed, said Syed Hamid on Tuesday.