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MP accuses NRD of double standard

KOTA KINABALU: An opposition MP has accused the federal government of applying a different set of procedures when dealing with Sabah-born Malaysians and foreign-borns registering for birth certificates in the state.

Sepanggar MP, Eric Majimbun said the procedures adopted by Kuala Lumpur marginalised and discriminated against the people of Sabah, particularly those in the rural areas where many children do not have birth certificates.

He said when these applicants, with the assistance of local community leaders, finally get their documents, the National Registration Department (NRD) will stamp, in red ink, the words “Late Registration”.
“Late Registration” refers to births not registered within the 14 days stipulated under CAP 123 of the Sabah Registration of Births and Deaths Ordinance.

And herein begins their difficulties.

When it is time for the holders of such documents to apply for identity cards (MyKad), they have to begin with first getting their certificates endorsed by a First Class Magistrate.

It’s a procedure under the Sabah Births and Deaths Ordinance Cap. 123. 1953 which states that all “late registrants” must to go through the procedure in court presided by at least a First Class Magistrate.

The same court requirements do not seem to apply to foreigners.

Majimbun, the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) deputy president, said his recent query on the matter in parliament was not satisfactorily answered by the Home minister.

The former chief judge of the Kota Kinabalu Native Court, who had handled many late registration cases, disclosed to FMT here on Tuesday that the written answer given to him was alarming and giving foreigners a `fast track’ scheme to obtain identity cards.

‘Lopsided’ procedure

According to the minister’s reply, the NRD adopts the position that for the children of foreigners, the information in their parent’s passports is sufficient to determine their status without court verification process that is applied for children of Sabahans, Majimbun said.

The opposition MP called the procedure “lopsided” and accused NRD of practicing “double standard”. The procedure was made arbitrarily in order to smooth the way for children of foreigners to easily gain citizenship.

“I wonder how many of these late registration certificates holders are foreigners in Sabah because only in Sabah has such (a) law that requires court endorsement of late birth certificates,” he said.

Thousands of others circumvent the procedure altogether by registering through the NRD in Putrajaya, he added.

Majimbun wants the Barisan Nasional state government to issue a directive to the department that late registrants must go through the proper procedure in accordance to the state law.

He said the state government has the power to do this but has allowed the loophole for unknown reasons.

“We must have some identity documents to differentiate between local Sabahan Malaysians and the so-called Malaysians in Sabah,” Majimbun added.

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