Stateless adults, too
Published on: Tuesday, April 09, 2019
By: Sohan Das

LABUAN: The Chinese Chamber of Commerce here said it is thoughtful of the Warisan-led State Government to consider legalising children who are regarded as foreigners even though one parent is a Sabahan, but that the same human values should be extended to the countless Chinese who have been residing in Sabah and Labuan but are without proper papers till today.

Chamber Sec-Gen Roger Foo said many Chinese migrated to Sabah decades ago and chose to stay in the State.

“They came here through the proper channel and some managed to get Permanent Resident (PR) status but attempts to upgrade this to MyKad were not usually successful. There are others in an even more difficult situation,” he said.

He said a solution should be found for these “stateless adults” because their status affected their children.

Asked how many there were in such category, Roger said no census had been taken but “there is a sizeable number in Sabah and Labuan.” 

Roger, a former chairman of the Sabah Hainan Association, said based on written records after World War II, many Chinese in search of greener pastures had settled in towns like Kudat, Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Labuan. This is well reflected by the existence of many clan associations.

Former MIC Chairman Datuk Ramasamy Rengasmay agreed, saying there were also Indians in Sabah facing this dilemma. 

He said during the era of Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Sambanthan, Indian labourers were brought to Sabah under the Rubber Fund Board to work in the plantation industry and there are some still not given documents as promised.

He said they can be found in Lahad Datu, Sandakan and Tawau.

The programme to legalise stateless kids had triggered a controversy but the Sabah Government defended the move, saying it was supported by the Federal government. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdah cited the case of a Dusun married to an African having three children.

Those critical of the programme fear that the State would be swamped with more illegals and worsen the demographic composition of the State to the disadvantage of the native communities.       


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