IPOH: Nation of Women (N.O.W) Perak, a non-governmental organisation, has welcomed the efforts by the government in allowing stateless individuals to apply for citizenship within a year.
Its chairman Sharifah Hazlina Syed Musa Jamalullail said it was about time that the government took effective approaches to address the issue of citizenship applications.
She said the lengthy process in citizenship application caused various problems, including parties that politicised it as a racial issue.
“The bureaucratic process within the departments involved must be simplified to ensure the applications can be submitted to the Home Ministry quickly,” she said in a statement on Thursday (Dec 17).
Her comments followed a statement by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin on Dec 14 that those without citizenship would be given a year to register with proper documentation.
He said a proper mechanism would be announced soon, adding that those who had not yet registered must do so quickly.
Sharifah said there were 44 stateless children in Hulu Perak who had to enlist the help of an NGO to enrol in schools.
She said the government should appoint a task force at district levels to help children who face citizenship status problems even though one of their parents was a citizen.
“To obtain citizenship, the applicants and their families need to go through various processes and procedures that sometimes require huge costs, especially DNA testing.
“The problem of not registering the birth of a child or not having a proper marriage certificate could be due to domestic unrest or being poor and living in the interiors,” she said.