Many live stateless in Sarawak’s remote areas

A pilot project to tackle the issue of genuine Sarawakians without MyKad or birth certificate has revealed that many of those in far-flung places of the state are still without legal identification documents.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Joseph Entulu said the statewide exercise would continue until Dec 31 next year to assist them to obtain the identification documents.

He, however, said the timeframe was subject to the extent of coverage of the programme owing to the vastness and rugged terrains of Sarawak.

“Further, the pockets of population, which are scattered deep in the interiors, pose a big challenge for the taskforce in the dissemination of information on the programme.

“Nevertheless, we are doing our level best to reach out to them and continue with the programme after the cut-off point (Dec 31, 2017) if needs be,” Entulu, who heads the taskforce, said.

At federal level, the task force is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Home Affairs Minister.

The trial project was carried out at Rh Peterson and Rh Penghulu Balai in Tamin constituency from Oct 29 till 31 last year.

Entulu said this was to assist genuine Sarawakians in Tamin to apply for identification documents through certification by community leaders such as longhouse chiefs or village chiefs and penghulu.

“During the duration of the pilot programme there, state JPN received 136 late applications for birth certificates and 35 applications for MyKads.

“Based on the certifications by longhouse chiefs and penghulu as well as interview by JPN, only 91 out of the 136 late applications for birth certificates were found to be genuine,” Entulu said.

Explaining on the 35 applications for identity cards, he revealed that they comprised applications of MyKad for children aged 12 years old and late applications.

“For applications of MyKad for children aged 12 years, two were found to be genuine Malaysians, while the status for another three, had yet to be confirmed.

“On the other hand, nine of the applicants for late applications of MyKad were found to be genuine Malaysians, while the other 21 have yet to be ascertained,” he said.

Towards this end, he noted that based on the number of applications received, there were still many genuine Sarawakians without identification documents in the interior especially from the Iban community.

On this, he said JPN received 1,670 applications between 2011 and August 31, 2015.

From that total, 17 applicants, who had their addresses in Selangau area, were genuinely without birth certificates.

However, only two out of 17 applicants turned up for the programme, he recalled.

The minister also disclosed that based on the decision made during the committee meeting on identification document for Sarawak last September, the federal JPN had issued a guideline to the state JPN as reference to resolve problems of genuine Sarawakians born and living in the state but still without identification documents.

“The next stop for the pilot project will be Bukit Begunan in Sri Aman, from Nov 12 till 14, 2016,” Entulu said.

The Borneo Post Online

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