Suhakam eyes MoU with P’pine counterpart soon
Published on: Thursday, April 25, 2019
By: Sherell Jeffrey

KOTA KINABALU: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) looks forward to signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines to alleviate the issue of statelessness in Sabah by end of year.

Suhakam Commissioner Datuk Godfrey Gregory Joitol said this in his closing remarks, in conjunction with the jointly organised workshop on stateless people in Sabah, here, Wednesday.

Suhakam had, on Tuesday, signed a MoU with the National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia (Komnas HAM) on the issue.

“We were also hoping to sign an MoU with the Philippines yesterday but they were not ready.

“However, they did promise us that they will be signing a trilateral MoU by end of this year, perhaps in Davao or somewhere else in the Philippines,” said Joitol.

On another matter, Joitol said the workshop was part of efforts, following the MoU signed with Indonesia, to deliberate on the cause of statelessness and what further actions can be taken to solve the related issues, particularly in Sabah. Also attending the workshop were delegates from the Philippines.

Joitol also noted that there is a difference between statelessness and undocumented.

Citing an earlier presentation by the Indonesian Consul General, he said there are about 300,000 Indonesian citizens working in Sabah and 300,000 more who are undocumented.

“They are not stateless but undocumented,” he explained.

He also said Suhakam has been working closely with the National Registration Department and the mobile court to create awareness on the benefit of having birth certificates and identification cards since being incorporated in 2000.

“We have gone into many villages and just last week we had our Suhakam Bersama Masyarakat in Kiulu together with the mobile court and National Registration Department,” he said.

He also said early next month, they will have another programme in Pitas together with the mobile court.

The workshop, he added, was just a starting point and that they still have a lot to do in addressing the issue.

“We have been very active on this matter and hope to engage more partners, “ he said.

State Education and Innovation Assistant Minister Jenifer Lasimbang was also among those present.


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