‘Move to document stateless children will help govt make better plans’


Bill says the government's decision will enable Sarawak to benefit from available workforce.

THE decision to issue temporary documentation to eligible stateless children applying for citizenship has been lauded.

The document will enable the stateless children to access education and health facilities.

Independent Council of Natives (Icon) founder and Dayak Rights Action Force co-founder Bill Jugah applauded Sarawak government for taking up this issue.

Bill, who is also Sarawak Dayak Iban Association Rajang branch chairman, said he had set up a digital site so that applicants need not incur expenses for travel, fuel, food or accommodation to meet him in Sibu.

“Parents can download a letter from https://bit.ly/BillJugah for submission to the school and Education Ministry for their undocumented children,” he said.

On April 9, Sarawak Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said the state government would be using Section 15A of the Federal Constitution to issue temporary documentation to eligible candidates.

Bill said Icon representatives in Miri had also helped collect data on stateless children.

He stressed the advantages to be gained if the issue was addressed.

“The government is not only honouring their right to exist, but will also be able to effectively utilise an already available workforce,” he said.

Bill pointed out that the Employees Provident Fund and banking industry would stand to gain too when these stateless people were allowed to open accounts.

“The government can initiate targeted development plans with their inclusion.

“At the moment, current plans are lopsided due to their exclusion,” he added. — By ANDY CHUA

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