Many Sabah natives denied citizenship: MP
Many natives living in the rural areas of Sabah have been denied Malaysian citizenship due to late registration of their birth by their parents, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday. Tawau Member of Parliament Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui cited for example, many hundreds of Murut, local Sabah natives in Serudung Baru, Serudung Laut and Kg Ranggu in her constituency of Tawau were among those in Sabah who have been denied of their Malaysian citizenship due to non or late registration of birth by their parents, who were obviously ignorant about such a requirement besides the far distance of their villages from the administrative centre. “I would like to cite some glaring examples. A female Filipino, aged 24, is in possession of a birth certificate indicating she is not a Malaysian citizen. Her parents as indicated in her birth certificate are also not Malaysian citizens. In 1998, her father obtained the “bunga raya” Malaysian identity card and subsequently a ‘MyKad’ in 2000. This case indicated that a male Filipino, his wife and daughter were all non—Malaysians but within two years, the father obtained a MyKad and Malaysian citizenship,” she said when debating the 2009 Budget. She then recalled an incident in Keningau back in 2002 where, during a raid conducted by the State Immigration Department, 34 foreigners were found in possession of MyKad (proved to be genuine) that had yet to be introduced in Sabah at that point of time. “In contrast, a 33-year-old local who was born on 24 March 1975 at Kampung Mandurian, Pitas whose parents were both locals and has a valid birth certificate issued by the National Registration Department, and yet he has been waiting for his MyKad for 12 years,” she pointed out. Chua also highlighted that the presence of a small Penan community, 68 families, in Tawau who came to Sabah before the Independence, who were till to date denied citizenship status by the relevant authority thus rendering them stateless people. She thus urged the relevant authorities to seriously look into the plight of these bona-fide Malaysian citizens and to expedite the approval of their citizenship applications. “It’s so easy to recognise these people based on their native tongue,” she added. Chua also called on the relevant authorities to reach out to these people instead of requiring them to travel all the way to Kota Kinabalu to file their applications and to attend interviews, as most of them are poor people thus cannot afford the travel expenses. Besides this, she also gh1ighted the burden created by the presence of vast number of foreigners in the State. She cited a series of reports by the Health Ministry in 2006 and 2007 for example where, they reported that 30 percent of patients in Sabah Government hospitals consisted of foreigners with 80 percent of Likas Hospital beds taken up by illegal immigrants. “We have overworked nurses, medical doctors, medical attendants and personnel to attend to the illegals, so much so that our local Sabahans were often neglected,” she lamented.