Pakatan Harapan Sarawak is working closely with the Home Affairs Ministry to address the issue of Stateless Children in Sarawak in order to work out a more effective policy direction and Standard Operating Procedure(SOP) for these stateless children to apply for Malaysian citizenship.
A delegation of a few elected representatives led by Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs YB Chong Chieng Jen met up with Home Affairs Minister Home Affairs Minister YB Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin bin Haji Muhammad Yassin to discuss a few matters including the urgency of resolving the issues of stateless children in Sarawak as well as other categories of application to obtain proper ICs in the State.
There are different categories to the issue of obtaining proper ICs or citizenship. We discussed on the process of registration under Article 15(a) of the Federal Constitution where the Federal Government may, in such special circumstances as it thinks fit, cause any person under the age of twenty-one years to be registered as a citizen, especially in the case of adoption or children born before the registration of marriage by their parents. The discussion also include the application for citizenship under Article 19 for those above 21 years old and Article 15(2) where one of the parent is a citizen.
Currently there is a task force already set up in Sarawak itself, but results has been less than encouraging and the issue still continues to persist. That is why we are pushing for a greater urgency and a better SOP to not just make it more convenient for the public to apply if they have a legitimate reason to do so, but also to lessen the processing time of the application.
Another issues discussed is the need to make the application process more transparent so that the applicants will be informed on the reasoning when a rejection is given. This is important so that the applicants will know how to proceed next and prepare better for the next application.
Currently, once a rejection notice is served, there is no reasoning given for all the rejections, and this have caused much confusion and inconvenience for the applicants especially if they were to apply again as they do not know what to do differently in their application or which document is missing or incomplete. This is to better prepare them for their further application and to get ready the necessary documents for the next application.
The Minister has given us positive response and assured us that the Ministry is working towards addressing these issues that have been raised. They will be arranging further engagements and meetings with us and all the different stakeholders including the relevant departments to find a way to properly address this issue while also addressing the concerns some may have over the whole citizenship application process.
On top of that, the other issue that we discussed with the Minister is the need to come down hard and tackle the issues of drugs that is getting more and more rampant not just in Sarawak, but all around Malaysia. This problem is not just affecting adults, but more and more young people, even school children are now getting involved in this bad habbit. We highlighted a few ‘hot spots’ all around Sarawak and the need for the police to take a more holistic approach in tackling this menace to society.
Recently, it was revealed that Sarawak recorded the highest number of secondary school students found positive for drugs in the country as at October 2018.There has been a growing trend leaning towards the use of methamphetamine, which accounted for 61 per cent of those who tested positive for the substance.
A lot of these cases affect our youth especially in the rural areas as many of these students are often influenced by their peers as well as the lack of awareness of the adverse effects of drugs these drugs. The Minister again responded positively and affirmed again the need to come down hard on the issues of drug abuse not just in Sarawak, but also nationwide.
We will then have more follow up meetings with the Kementerian Dalam Negeri to monitor and see through the implementation or new policy direction of the issues that was discussed.