KUCHING: Four-year-old Mikayla Hanna is now a Malaysian citizen after a three-year wait for her application to be approved.
Mikayla was stateless when she was adopted by Yusuf Kamil, 34, and Nuridzyan Syazwani Ja’afar, 33, at the age of one.
The couple applied for her citizenship under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution in September 2019.
“We followed up constantly with the National Registration Department (NRD) through calls and emails so that the application would be expedited.
“We’re very happy that it has been approved after three years,” said Yusuf, adding that it would now be easier to send Mikayla to school.
He was talking to the press after receiving the citizenship document from state NRD director Awang Afferoz Awang Marikan at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly complex here yesterday.
State Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah, who witnessed the handover, called for citizenship applications for adopted children to be sped up.
Her ministry had received 60 applications for temporary documents for stateless individuals since Nov 1, she added.
“The temporary documents will allow them to have access to education and healthcare as they wait for their citizenship applications to be approved.
“This is important because we believe that every child has the right to education,” she said.
The state government had decided earlier this year to issue temporary documents to those aged 21 and below while they awaited Malaysian citizenship, which is under the Federal Government’s jurisdiction.
Applicants are required to have a birth certificate issued in Sarawak and must have applied for citizenship under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution.
Successful applicants will be issued the temporary document, which will be valid for two years.
Fatimah said her ministry would conduct an outreach programme on the temporary document application next month.
It will kick off at the community social support centre here on Dec 2 before going to Sepupok, Niah (Dec 8), Lawas (Dec 10) and Sibu (Dec 12).
“These are areas where there is a substantial number of stateless children. Through this outreach programme, we want to enable them to have access to education during the new school term starting in March,” she said.