Spending RM600 just to become Malaysians
Published on: Sunday, November 26, 2017
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MOST Malaysians will not think twice of forking out RM600 for a return trip from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur by air. This was what a villager in Kg Limas, Nabawan, spent on transport for herself and three nephews to get to Kg Saliku, where a mobile court team had parked overnight at SK Saliku to help endorse the late birth registration of villagers there – the crucial next step to being considered a Malaysian.

"I have three nephews, aged between seven and 13, who needed to get their late birth registration certificates endorsed.

"It took us three hours to travel from Nabawan to Saliku, it is not easy nor cheap to charter a car to get here.

But all that was worth it and we are indebted to the Chief Hakim (Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak) who we were told would be personally present to assist us," said Mailin Limam, 65.

Like Mailin, Tujuh Guna and her family also knew they had to make the trip no matter the cost because it was unlikely they would get the opportunity again.

With her was her 13-year-old son who needed to get his late birth certificate registration endorsed by the mobile court officials in order to obtain a MyKad from the National Registration Department.

The trip from their village in Kg Limas involved braving the weather and travelling on dirt road through Sapulut Forest Development Sdn Bhd to reach the SK Saliku grounds.

There was no telecommunication line or no streetlights along the way and barely anyone around to call in case of an emergency. But these risks were not enough to discourage them.

Tujuh, 42, was initially unsure if the mobile court could help but decided it was better than having to regret later at not being able to do something for the sake of her son's future when she could.

The lack of a document confirming Malaysian citizenship hit her son hard when his hopes of being selected for the school soccer team were dashed.

The teenager was so upset that he even told his parents he wanted to quit school, thus giving the family even more reason to make the long journey to Saliku.

Tujuh said a heavy downpour forced them to spend the night near a bridge which linked to the village.

"It's was not easy (making the trip). You have to be tough not to give up, but it was worth the journey," said the mother of eight, who felt a burden lifted off her chest when her son's late registration document endorsed by the court.

Her older children all have MyKads, except for three younger children, including the 13-year-old.

Their births were registered late because her husband was away working in Sarawak when they were born.

"Now that the document has been endorsed, everything will be easier for my children," she said.

Unlike many children in developed parts of Sabah who are motivated to do well in their exams with promises of the latest gadgets or a trip abroad as reward, children in Saliku are driven to score good grades so they can get into a Technical Mara Junior Science College (MRSM).

For them, doing well in education and sports is a ticket to a better life.

It is, therefore, not surprising that despite being in a remote part of the State, SK Saliku under the guidance of headmaster Aping Montis, a Murut, is among schools in the interior with a high UPSR passing rate.

One of its students scored 6As in her UPSR last year and is now studying at MRSM in Tuaran.

The school, which has 84 pupils, has seven students currently studying at the MRSM in Sandakan and three at the MRSM Kota Kinabalu.

"Our children have also represented the interior at State-level in track and field.

Four of our athletes represented Sabah at national-level," said Aping who has been the headmaster for the past 23 years.

He holds strong to the school motto "Aun asio hino atulai" (in Murut dialect means he who is brave will excel).

One of the challenges faced by the mobile courts is attempts by illegal immigrants to seek late birth registration endorsement through deceit, especially in the East Coast. It was reported in the Daily Express that police had to be called in to control the situation where the crowds became untruly when the legal officers decided the applicants failed to meet the conditions in one case.

There were times when the illegals would travel to other areas in the interior upon getting word that a mobile court would be visiting the area.

"Ketua kampongs and chairmen of the Village Security and Development committees (JKKKs) have to be vigilant when endorsing the applications for these documents to prevent the sale of birth certificates to illegals," said Malanjum. - Sherell Jeffrey


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