Problem Of Interior Residents Without Documents Reduced

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TUARAN: The problem of residents living in the interior areas of Sabah not having identification documents has declined due to the proactiveness of the National Registration Department (NRD) together with the court of law in providing mobile registration service.

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) Sabah commissioner, Datuk Godfrey Gregory Joitol said through the mobile service, the NRD and court travelled into the interior areas to register local residents who had no birth certificate.

He said every late application for a birth certificate needed to be supported by a magistrate who would obtain proof that the parents of the children involved were Malaysian citizens.

GREGORY JOITOL

“This mobile service eases and hastens the process of acquiring identification documents like birth certificate for people living in the interior areas who failed to do so due to financial constraints and the long distance between their villages and the NRD office.”

He said this when met at the Programme With The Community and Mobile Community Service organised by Suhakam with the Tuaran District Office and Malaysian Treasury in Kiulu, near here, Thursday.

Twenty government agencies including the NRD, Public Complaints Bureau, Land and Survey Department, Road Transport Department, Immigration Department and Agriculture Department participated in the programme.

Godfrey said human rights involved citizenship by having identification documents, which was one of the problems often raised by Suhakam through programmes conducted in Sabah.

He said that each month, Suhakam received 50 complaints on human rights violations in the state and out of this figure, 70 per cent were on having no identification documents like birth certificate and identity card.

According to him, many of the complaints were from local men who married foreign women including those who had no identification documents and their marriage were not registered.

“When they have children, birth certificates cannot be issued for these children because the government’s policy does not allow the issuance of birth certificates and identity cards for children whose parents did not officially register their marriage.

“These children have to wait for long for their citizenship applications to be considered by the Home Ministry,” he said.