Once stateless, Sarawak teen can now fulfil his dream of becoming a teacher

Mohammad Aidill holding his citizenship papers as Fatimah (left), his mother Halimah Buang and father Hamdan look on.

SIBU: Mohammad Aidill Maula Hamdan, who was born stateless, can now achieve his ambition of becoming a teacher after being granted Malaysian citizenship.

The 19-year-old's application, made in 2016, has been approved by the National Registration Department.

Mohammad Aidill collected his citizenship documents from Sarawak Women, Early Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah here on Wednesday (Sept 7).

"I am very thankful to the department for approving my application and also to Datuk Seri Fatimah for helping me secure (approval)," said an elated Mohammad Aidill.

He recalled that his statelessness was a burden on his family as he had to pay for his primary and secondary education. His father, Hamdan Mohamad, 46, is a fisherman in Matu.

"When I was in SK SibuJaya, I had to pay RM120 yearly for the school fee, RM240 a year for secondary school fee in SMK Matu, RM237 for my SPM exam fee, RM237 for each semester in Form Six and a RM240 STPM exam fee," said the former SMK Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Hjh Normah student.

He scored three distinctions (Geography, Accounts and Bahasa Malaysia) and one B (General Paper) in the 2021 STPM with a grade point average of 3.59.

He has applied for a teaching degree to Sultan Idris Education University in Perak while the University of Technology Sarawak here has also given him a conditional offer to further his studies there.

Fatimah called on the Federal Government to expedite the citizenship applications from stateless children in Sarawak.

Taking the case of Mohammad Aidill, she said there were other cases where the result of applications was only known after six years.

"This long process is depriving stateless children of education, health and welfare opportunities as well as affecting their general wellbeing.

"I call on the Home Ministry to look into cases that have been deliberated and supported by our (Sarawak) Special Committee for Citizenship under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution," she said.

She added that a total of 268 citizenship applications out of 1,042 submitted from Sarawak have been approved under Article 15A from August 2016 to date.

Of the 268, she said 100 lived in remote areas of the state.

"About 50 of these 100 could not be contacted to collect their citizenship documents as they may have changed their phone numbers.

"The other 50 collected theirs after we got the help of their respective community leaders to locate them," she said.

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