CM: Help underway for the stateless in Sabah

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 29 Sep 2018

Up close and personal: Shafie noting down details being given by a resident in Keningau during the ‘Chief Minister with the Rakyat’ event. — Bernama

KENINGAU: A realistic and comprehensive approach will be put in place to resolve problems faced by “undocumented Malaysians” in Sabah, says Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

He said he wants to have a system to help children from illegal marriages between Malaysians and foreigners, especially where the foreign spouse left.

“I have just met a Dusun lady from Sook who has three children. She is unable to register the children as her spouse had abandoned them,” he told reporters after his first official meeting with the people in this interior Keningau town about 120km from Kota Kinabalu.

He said there were concerns about such parents who could not obtain a MyKad for their children, who would later be deprived of educational opportunities.

“These people are Sabahans. We need to resolve their problem. A system must be in place for them to get their documents as soon as possible and not wait until they are grown up.

“They can’t even continue after primary school. They cannot even work. We are worried about their wellbeing but some quarters are accusing us of giving ICs to non-citizens,” he said.

These children, he said, were stateless and could not be deported.

“We have to be realistic and look into this,” he said at the “Chief Minister with the Rakyat” event where various state and federal agencies including mobile courts were available to assist locals obtain identity documents or to register for birth certificates.

Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Richard Malajum, who accompanied his judicial officers on the mobile court, told reporters that the mobile court has helped some 50,000 rural Sabahans obtain ICs and birth certificates since 2008.

Most cases of late registration of births came about because the rural folk could not afford to get to the urban centres, he said, adding that they were also unaware that such births had to be registered within 42 days.

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