Saturday, November 08, 2008

'Stateless' Malaysians

I held a press conference to highlight a few cases which I have received within my constituency in the last few months of Malaysians, young and old, being denied their rights to citizenship. Some cases are more complicated, but some are outright errors on the part of the National Registration Department (NRD). However, one thing is common, the lack of response, action or worse, a complete disregard of their rights by the NRD, which falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Below is the relevant news report from The Malaysian Insider:

PETALING JAYA, Nov 7 — A three-year-old girl is among three people apparently denied citizenship in a growing number of what the DAP’s Tony Pua says are “systemic irregularities” in the National Registration Department.

Speaking at a press conference today, Pua highlighted the three cases which he hoped the government would look into and expedite the process of granting them citizenship.

"I think citizenship is a basic right for any human anywhere in the world. Based on our citizenship law if they qualify, the government should take every step to expedite the process," said Pua, who is also the DAP national publicity secretary.

Lai Jian Yo, 3, who has a Thai mother and a Malaysian father, has been erroneously listed as a non-Malaysian in her birth certificate.

Pua said: "By law, any person born in this country after Merdeka as long as the father or mother is a citizen or even a permanent resident of Malaysia, the child will qualify as a citizen."

(Check Federal Constitution Article 14(1)(b), and Part II of 2nd Schedule)

The child was born in 2005, and the parents only appealed in March last year as they were not aware of the law. The parents were asked to submit an application but up to this day there has not been any progress.

"It is not a matter of by application; if the error is in the birth certificate then all you need to do is change the birth certificate. You don't need to actually apply for new citizenship because she is not a foreigner," said Pua, who is also Petaling Jaya Utara MP.

The father is worried for the child's future because he is not able to register her for school. The girl will also not be able to work or move freely if she remains stateless.

The second case involves Thee Hin Yee, 19, who is an adopted child. She is unable to study or work due to her current situation.

She grew up having a temporary passport. (errata: this refers to Passport terhad, not temporary passport) However when she was 12, the NRD confiscated her birth certificate when she collected her identity card. The NRD deemed her birth certificate not legitimate and also retained her identity card. She submitted her application in 2002 but there has been no progress till now.

The third case highlighted by Pua was that of a 72-year-old mother Lam Khoi Tong, who has been denied a passport.

She was born before independence and has pre-independence identity papers. Due to misinformation during registration, she was issued a red identity card even though she was eligible for citizenship.

She has been applying ever since for citizenship.

Said Pua: "There are real systematic issues or problems in the NRD because you find people from the youngest to the oldest facing problems."


Anonymous said...

It's an open secret about this problem, while it's a crazy struggle for some to get their legitimate citizenships, on the other hand you have the situation in Sabah, "citizens" with Mykads etc...Wahai Malaysia...

Anonymous said...

I just fail to understand why the government likes to make people life so difficult. The problem is when the civil servants who do not know or understand what they are doing.
This had been left unchecked for quite sometime and hopefully you can put it right.
I cannot imagine what will the future of a 3 year old kit be with this kind of irresponsible people around. Can't they put their heart, brain and eyes and think rationally.
Real sick and disgusted.

Anonymous said...

Tony...these problems are the simply the result of incompetent civil servants.......screwing the ministers is of little use....for even their lives are run by these animals.........the system needs to be put right.....and most importantly you need people with brains. the Malaysian civil service is run by dungus.

Anonymous said...

I'd definitely engage and pursue a legal suit against the govt till to the the world court if necessary if any of my kins or friends fall under the above categories.

There's no point arguing with the so-called 'civil servants'. The scare tactic works much better.

Anonymous said...


what do you expect from someone who personified stupidity?
wanton use of ISA with such unbelievable reason as using ISA as protection. and telling the whole world that a police base has to be relocated because it is situated in a crime infested area.
I just wonder if UMNO is really so short of capable leaders.

Anonymous said...

This is the work of Home ministry. Employ people in office doing nothing. The best it is head by one botak who speak with no brain.

Anonymous said...

The botak aka scumbag Syed Hamid Albar only cares how to use ISA to torture innocent people. vote BN out!!

Anonymous said...

Dear YB Tony,

Please please please do something about the illegals who are given ICs in Sabah while rightful citizens in the interior are not accorded their rights..I am an ethnic Chinese 5th generation in Sabah treated as a 2nd class citizen because of UMNO's racist policies..while first generation filipino illegals are given ICs right away! Sabahans very rarely differentiate each other by race but rather as Sabahans. There is no social contract such as that as exist in Malaya. But yet UMNO is exporting their racist filth here through the NRD giving out ICs to the illegals. Please help highlight this.

Anonymous said...

re: Three-year-old with Thai mom, M'sian dad

My situation is similar: Indonesian mom, M'sian dad (me). What's different is that she was born in a 3rd country and all her papers are in order.

I've gone to the NRD/JPN and was asked to fill out the form for PPTK-Permohonan Pengesahan Taraf Kewarganegaraan (Application to Ascertain Citizenship Status). Is that really an application for citizenship? I don't think so. I think it's fair to have to go through some paperwork to get a piece of paper testifying to her citizenship.

Besides is NRD really the locus of blame for bad birthcerts? From my experience, birthcert issuance is notoriously prone to errors at the local level, whether the mistake is with the hospital staff or otherwise.

As for Lai Jian Yo's case you didn't mention if the parents actually submitted the application and the long delay was due to this particular application and not something else. The key documents here are proof of citizenship of the father and the birthcert with names of parents.

I'm about to submit my own PPTK application when I get back into KL. Will keep you posted on how it turns out.

cheng said...

It's been about 1.5 years but JPN has come through with the citizenship cert.

The lengthiest delay was in adjudicating the validity of the application, naturally. JPN's website says 6 months. It was closer to a year.

What's the update on Lai Jian Yo?