Born here doesn’t mean M’sian
Published on: Wednesday, July 15, 2020
By: Bernama
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Kuala Lumpur: The issue over citizenship and stateless children, attracted the attention of several Sabah and Sarawak MPs as they stood up to ask questions and urged the government for solutions to the problem.

Home Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainudin, who answered the original question posed by Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (PH-Bandar Kuching), said parents and guardians of these stateless children or individuals whose citizenship and status have not been determined, need to submit valid documents to the government before their citizenship application could be approved.

He said to address the issue, he was in the state recently to find out what was happening especially on matters related to the IMM13 document as well the Kad Burung-Burung and Census certificates.

Shafie (pic) told PN govt will not grant citizenship just because a person is stateless

Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna), in urging the government to find solutions fast said, human factors should be considered in dealing with the problem.

“These children are getting older, if we were to send them home where would that be. They have no home or families in the Philippines or Indonesia. So I hope the government will come to a solution, we cannot keep prolonging this issue,” he said

Mohd Shafie said the problem had long existed even when he was a cabinet minister before this , adding that serious attention must be given to the matter as these children who have no guardians were roaming and living off the streets.

On the IMM13 documents, Census Certificates and Kad Burung-Burung in the state, Mohd Shafie said the government could not “legalise” the holders of these cards, to receive the IMM13, which is recognized by the United Nations.

Hamzah in his reply said the government would look into every application based on documents submitted to the government before considering granting citizenship status.

“We will make sure that they will at least have an identity to live in this country. But we can’t be granting citizenship status to all who are stateless,” he said.

He said Malaysia is a sovereign country that will not give citizenship easily, including to stateless children. He said being born in the country does not entitle a person to automatically obtain Malaysian citizenship. The citizenship status of an individual is determined on the basis of the biological parents’ nationality and the legal status of the marriage at the time of birth, in line with provisions under the Federal Constitution, Citizenship Rules 1964 and other related legislations, he explained.

“What’s important is for us to see that if we cannot give citizenship, we will make sure that they have an identity to live in our country. For me, they are citizens of the world, whether they are in Sabah or elsewhere.

“They are human and that’s why we have to ensure that they have an identity...that’s what we should do, not simply giving citizenship to all stateless children,” he said.

The IMM13 is one of the documents issued to Filipino citizens with refugee status, in addition to several other documents such as the Census Certificate issued during the Federal Special Task Force whitening programme and the Kad Burung-Burung issued in the 1970s until the 1990s.

Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun (Bersatu-Beaufort) in her supplementary question asked the number of citizenship applications under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution which are still outstanding from 2015 to date, and the number of applications from Sabah.

Hamzah informed that from 2015 to June 30 this year, a total of 31,494 citizenship applications were received and of that number, 28,211 are being processed. A total of 9,388 applications were processed and registered in Sabah, he said. 


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