KOTA KINABALU: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sabah has insisted that the government should step up efforts to continue to educate the masses on the importance of birth registration, instead of penalizing them for late registration.
Rahimah Majid, the PKR Sabah women chief, reiterated this while responding to the clarification made by the Deputy Home that the government’s decision to impose a fine of RM1,000 compared to only RM50 previously, on parents who failed to register their children within 60 days after their birth, does not involve Sabah and Sarawak.
In a statement Thursday, Rahimah described the clarification as an afterthought following strong protest from opposition politicians like Zuraida Kamaruddin, PKR wanita chief, Teo Nie Ching, DAP assistant national publicity secretary, besides herself.
Rahimah who is also PKR Kudat division chief said this was clearly the case as, in his first announcement made on Tuesday, the deputy minister made no distinct for Sabah and Sarawak.
“As in the like mindset of the federal minister and others from Peninsula, it is always assumed peninsula is Malaysia. What is applicable there is applicable throughout Malaysia,” she said.
She reiterated that the government should continue to educate the masses on the importance of birth registration, instead of penalizing them for late registration, asserting that such should be part of the government’s fiduciary duties to the people whom it owes its very existence in the first place.
Following the outcry of opposition politicians against the said move, Nur Jazlan Mohamed, on Wednesday reportedly clarified that the amendment of the Births and Deaths Registration Act (Act 299) which the said fine comes under only applies in peninsular Malaysia and not enforced in Sabah and Sarawak.
“The two states are subjected to the Sabah Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance 1951 (CAP 123) and Sarawak Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance 1951 (CAP 10),” he pointed out.
He thus said claims and concerns that such fines would burden the people from the interior of Sabah and Sarawak, was a non-issue.
“In this trying time of economic downturn, a little compassion on the part of the government of the day would certainly mean a great deal to the people, especially those poor parents who are currently already struggling to make ends meet,” she stressed.
To recap, in an immediate response issued on Wednesday, Rahimah urged the Federal government to immediately abolish the RM50 penalty and exempt Sabah and Sarawak from the said move.
She argued that the government must take into consideration the unique situation of Sabah and Sarawak where infrastructure development is still far lagging behind, as compared to Peninsular Malaysia.
This, she said, is part of the main reasons behind high rate of late birth registration in the two states, as a majority of the rural villagers were just too poor to afford the transportation cost to go to the nearest town to register the birth of their children.