At the same time he also warned against giving ‘legal’ status to those holding the Census Certificates and Kad Burung-Burung in the State.
Shafie (Warisan-Semporna) said human factors should be considered in dealing with the problem of stateless children.
“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,” he said in parliament.
“So I hope the government will come to a solution, we cannot keep prolonging this issue.”
Shafie said the problem had long existed and that serious attention must be given to the matter as these children who have no guardians were roaming and living off the streets.
On Census Certificates and Kad Burung-Burung in the state, he said the government could not ‘legalise’ the holders of these cards, to receive the IMM13, which is recognised by the United Nations.
The IMM13 was issued to Filipinos with refugee status and on top of that many among the migrants in the state were subsequently also issued the Census Certificate and the Kad Burung-Burung.
Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun (Bersatu-Beaufort) in her supplementary question asked the number of citizenship applications which are still outstanding from 2015, and the number of applications from Sabah.
Home Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin informed that from 2015 to June 30 this year, a total of 31,494 citizenship applications were received and of that number, 28,211 were being processed.
A total of 9,388 applications were processed and registered in Sabah, he said.
He assured that 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 was quoted as saying in a Bernama report.
Earlier, Hamzah, who answered the original question posed by Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (PH-Bandar Kuching), said parents and guardians of 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.