SIBU: While Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s intervention to help Rohana Abdullah obtain citizenship is commended, similar difficulties are face by many people nationwide, says a group of Sarawak-based non-governmental organisations.
Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) Rajang branch chairman Bill Jugah said this was a positive indication that the Malaysian government was taking steps to address the long-standing issue.
“I am sure the government is not favouring a particular segment of society in discharging its duties.
“At present, I am attending to over 920 cases of statelessness and citizenship cases with differing categories,” he said in a statement on Monday (Jan 17).
He said his immediate concern was education being denied to children of school-going age.
He added that some were unable to register their names online to enter their names into the education database system.
“There are cases where they need to go to the Immigration Department to obtain an annual student pass.
“Several required passports from other countries while others have to pay for textbooks which are provided free (for Malaysians),” he said.
Jugah because of this the country is losing potential professionals and entrepreneurs of the future.
“We are already facing a brain drain where talented Malaysians have chosen to be expatriates abroad,” he said.
Jugah said the government, particularly the Home Ministry, needs to revise current guidelines for issuing identity cards.
“We cannot depend on ministerial intervention in individual cases, as exemplified in Rohana’s case.
Jugah said he had set up a website at bit.ly/BillJugah, to receive complaints from those affected by this issue.
Other organisations who endorsed the statement were Dominique Ng of Sarawak Association of People’s Aspiration, Terabai Kenyalang Heritage Association of Sarawak, Dayak Ritual Awareness Fellowship, Persatuan Etnik Dayak Asal Sarawak, Peter John Jaban of Global Human Rights Federation, Purplelily Social Association Kuching and Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru.