Thursday, October 23, 2008


Suhakam: Locals face problems obtaining MyKad


Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) Vice Chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun is saddened by the plight of local Sabahans who have problems obtaining their citizenship from the National Registration Department (NRD). According to him, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, citizenship is a human right. Therefore every human being has the right to a citizenship. “But it is even more hurtful to me if you are actually a citizen but denied citizenship,” he said, adding what is more sad was the fact that foreigners were able to obtain Malaysian citizenship faster than the locals. Suhakam, he said, has received reports from foreigners and locals about obtaining their MyKad from the NRD. “One of the complainants we had was a Filipino who was arrested under ISA and deported a few years back. Three weeks ago he came back to Sabah because he knew his MyKad was ready and waiting to be collected. “He complained to us that the NRD did not want to release the MyKad after the Department found out he had previously been detained under ISA,” Sipaun said. When asked by Suhakam officials how did he re-enter Sabah, the man replied that to come to Sabah was as easy as walking from Centre Point Shopping Complex to Kampung Air. The man also claimed that he was not alone when he re-entered Sabah three weeks ago as he came in a group of about 50 people. Sipaun said this showed that there is an urgent need to strengthen enforcement along Sabah’s border and the excuse of authorities that it is long was not acceptable as Sarawak has a longer border with Indonesia and yet its problems with illegal immigrants were not so severe. “Here we have a Filipino who said he had connection in NRD and it was through them that he obtained his MyKad and then we have the locals who have been waiting for years toet their MyKad. It is a sad situation,” he said. Sipaun disclosed that one of the cases Suhakam received was from a 33-year-old local man who was born in Kampung Mandurian, Pitas. Both his parents are locals and have always lived in the village, he said, adding that the complainant has a valid birth certificate issued by NRD. “He applied for MyKad and was advised to wait and has been waiting for 12 years but ther is still no sign of the MyKad. “Compared this case to a Filipino complainant who was not satisfied because his children were not admitted to school. He has a MyKad issued by NRD. In his MyKad, it is indicated that he is a Malaysian citizen, a Muslim and a Bumiputra. “But his birth certificate showed that both his parents are Filipinos and non-Malaysians. He himself is not a citizen of Malaysia,” Sipaun pointed out. According to him, the complainant’s birth certificate stated that he was born in Kampung Pirasan, Kota Marudu but when Suhakam checked, there was no such kampung in Kota Marudu but there is one in Kota Belud. “This is very puzzling to me because here is a person based on all the documents he provided should not have been issued with a MyKad at all or citizenship status but we have locals who have been waiting so long for their MyKad,” he said.