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Another case of citizenship denied?
Published on: Monday, April 11, 2016
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Another case of citizenship denied?
Kota Kinabalu: Barely a fortnight after publicising a similar case – but without getting any response from the State NRD Director despite attempts by Daily Express – a Tenom-born woman claims to have also been denied her right to Malaysian citizenship. She was only given a MyPR (Permanent Resident status) card, according to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), Sabah Office, who referred the matter to Daily Express.

Lai Yun Lan @ Amilik, a Sino-Dusun, 56, and a grandmother to seven has a school-leaving certificate, a certified extract birth certificate (late registration) and a Statutory Declaration by her mother, the late Ahlip Bte Omboho, that she was born in Sabah, all of which were also verified by Ketua Kampung Tandau bin Tolan (then Village Chief of Kg Enubai, Tenom, where Amilik was born).

But for whatever reason(s), the National Registration Department (JPN) issued her a MyPR Card (600202-12-5450-03), instead of a MyKad (Malaysian Citizen) in the late 1990s. Earlier, she was given a red Identity Card (IC) with the Number H6019464, and later ended up with a Green I.C. (Temporary Resident).

Ahlip, a Dusun from Ranau, married Lai Choi, a Chinese farmer from Sapong Estate in Tenom, and the couple had two children, Amilik and her younger sister, Lai Ah Poh, 55. The family planted coffee on a three-acre plot.

"I studied at SK Enubai Tenom. As a child, I used to pluck coffee beans," said the mother of seven (four girls and three boys) who now lives in Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, with her children.

Ah Poh has a MyKad (Malaysian Citizen) because she was born in Tenom District Hospital and has a birth certificate.

More than half her life, Amilik has been chasing her dream of possessing a blue Identity Card (IC) and now a MyKad but to no avail. Her ordeal dates back to the year 1972 when she was 12 years old.

"I was born at home at Kg Enubai (Tenom) in 1960, so my birth was not registered then. When I turned 12, my Mum brought me to the JPN Office to apply for a blue IC. It was a hassling experience as the authorities wanted proof of my local birth. We managed to find the village midwife who delivered me. But I was still given a red IC," she said, with sadness.

"I speak Bahasa Malaysia, Murut, Dusun, Hakka, Cantonese and Mandarin. I grew up with Murut and Dusun kids.

When I talk to people in the Peninsula, they know straightaway that I am from Sabah. Even the police once said to me, 'Aunty, dari Sabahkah?' (Aunty, from Sabah?)

"But the Indonesian women who live in my area and can only speak Indonesian Malay have got MyKad.

Isn't this strange? They told me, 'Kami datang lima tahun, sudah dapat IC'," (We have been here five years already, we have already got IC)," she shared.

As far back as 1977, Amilik applied for a Native Certificate, only to be told that her application was temporarily frozen.

Not wanting to give up, she pursued her blue IC case even after moving to Kudat in the eighties following her marriage.

In March 1983, Ahlip made a Statutory Declaration that both her children were born at Kg Enubai, Tenom.

She passed away at the end of 1989.

Subsequently, the then Assistant Registration Officer, Kudat wrote to the Director of JPN, Kota Kinabalu, in support of Amilik's application to change from a red IC to a blue IC.

"To produce more documentary proof to the JPN, I even went back to my old school (SM St Anthony, Tenom) to get my school-leaving certificate from the Principal. That was in December 1987. I had studied till Form Three and left at the end of 1975.

"Not only that…a year later (November 1988), I obtained a late registration birth certificate from the Registrar of Births and Deaths in Tenom. Despite all this, I was issued only a MyPR Card in 1997, which I use until today."

In pursuit of her Malaysian citizenship status, Amilik had, in early 2000, submitted copies of her MyPR, certified extract - birth certificate (late registration), her father's and mother's blue ICs to the Director of Citizenship Division, JPN in Petaling Jaya. "I have not heard from JPN since," she said.

According to her, she even voted at the polling centre at SMK Matunggong before 2013 (using her MyPR) while living with her husband and family in Kudat from the early eighties. "But when I returned to the same polling centre to cast my vote in the 13th General Election (2013), my name was no longer in the electoral roll, so I could not vote," she related.

"I really don't know what is going on."

Last year, Amilik paid RM380 (purportedly for transport) to a man from a Barisan Nasional (BN) Chinese-based party in Sri Petaling, who said he could help her secure her Malaysian Citizenship card. "I have a mind to take back my file of documents from him when I return home next week," she said.

With PR status, Amilik is unable to apply for BRIM (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia), and she is fretful that one day, she might not be eligible for government welfare aid should the need for help arise.

"By now, I had spent so much on travel expenses going up and down the various authorities' offices, not to mention my time and energy but so far the Government has not shown that it cares for a law-abiding citizen who has more than enough proof that I am a local," she said.

Last month, Daily Express highlighted the case of terminally ill Rita Joan Thomson, 78, who was given a MyPR (Permanent Resident) card despite being a native born in Bongawan, Papar, when she applied for a MyKad (Malaysian citizenship) years ago.

The mixed Bajau mother of four is the widow of Thomas Humphrey Paglar, the former Sabah Director of Civil Aviation.

Her mother, the late Limah Bte Awang was of Bajau descent. Thomson's daughter, Christine Paglar, was crowned Miss Malaysia in 1987 and represented the country in the Miss Universe pageant the same year.


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