SEPANG: The Government is studying a proposal that anyone whose citizenship “has yet to be determined” be issued with a special identification card.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said such a measure could help with issues involving those who were in limbo over their citizenship.
Based on National Registration Department (NRD) records, there are three categories of citizenship status — Citizen, Non-Citizen and those whose status is “Yet To Be Determined”.
“A Yet To Be Determined status could be due to a marriage not being recognised, the mother’s citizenship undetermined, incomplete documentation or that the child was abandoned,” Dr Ahmad Zahid said in an interview.
“There is no ‘stateless’ category under the NRD,” he added.
“The burden of proof for citizenship rests with the applicant,” Dr Ahmad Zahid pointed out.
“There are opportunities for individuals to prove their citizenship,” he said.
He said those whose citizenship status was yet to be determined faced a host of problems, especially in receiving free education, healthcare, jobs, government aid, opening bank accounts and owning property.
“They would also be restricted in their movements,” he added.
The situation, he said, would have a big effect on social and economic welfare in the country.
“This can contribute to an increase in social problems, such as a rise in the number of school dropouts and homeless people, drug addiction and criminal behaviour.”
MCA Public Service and Complaints Department chairman Datuk Seri Michael Chong said there was no excuse for couples not to register their marriages, especially when they had children.
“We have at least 15 such cases this year,” he pointed out. “When things catch up with them and the children later on, they come seeking help from us,” Chong said.
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