Be flexible in processing stateless cases


THE Federal Government has dissolved the Sarawak Special Committee on citizenship for stateless Sarawakians.

Home Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the decision in Kuching a few days ago during his visit to the state capital.

He reasoned that since there was a national-level special committee under his ministry to deal with stateless-citizenship woes, there was no need for a state-level committee in Sarawak to do the same job.Of course that decision received a lot of criticism from Sarawak state government leaders.

State Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said the decision will make it more difficult for the stateless in both urban and rural areas to sort out their problems as they have to deal direct with federal leaders.

Fatimah has headed the state committee on citizenship application for stateless Sarawakians since 2016.

Other state leaders were accused the Government of playing politics with the citizenship issue in Sarawak.

Whether politics or not, what is sure is that the decision will cause a lot of confusion for cases being handled by Fatimah’s committee.

Muhyiddin indicated that there may be a thorough review of all applications by the stateless in Sarawak.I think that would be a massive headache.

Sarawak is so large and there are so many stateless living in rural settlements, far from the cities.

The Government must be flexible. Allow the pending cases to be processed and approved.

In fact, the documents for stateless children in Sarawak must be expedited to allow them to start schooling while citizenship issues were being sorted out.

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