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Free Malaysia Today (FMT)

FMT: Lack of clarity in procedures a hindrance to stateless, says Santiago

KUALA LUMPUR: Klang MP Charles Santiago has called on the government to be more serious in addressing problems faced by the stateless.

He says no simple mechanism has been introduced by the government to make it easier for these people to get citizenship despite being in power for seven months.

He said one of the key promises made in the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto was to solve the problems of Malaysian Indians who are stateless.

“Currently, there is a lack of clarity on the procedures to apply for citizenship.”

He said clearer guidelines and a specific timeline must be provided.

“The whole process to apply for citizenship is very confusing and unclear. This has caused confusion that seems deliberate.

“There is a lack of clarity in policy and legislation,” he said today at a gathering here on addressing statelessness among Malaysians.

Santiago said he had collected details on 1,017 cases of stateless persons in his constituency and they came from all races.

He said being stateless was also an issue faced by the Chinese, Malays, Orang Asal and those staying in Sabah and Sarawak.

Santiago said another pressing issue was transparency — on how the government was managing the citizenship issue.

Meanwhile, Saravanan M Sinapan, who heads an NGO called Development of Human Resources For Rural Areas (DHRRA), said he had records of almost 13,000 stateless nationwide.

He believed many other stateless people have not bothered to apply for citizenship through ignorance or illiteracy.

He dismissed the statement made by Deputy Home Minister Azis Jamman recently that only 3,853 applications for citizenship were received from Indians up to May 30 this year.

“His figures omit the number of applications that were rejected by the National Registration Department due to a lack of documents.

“Also, thousands of stateless are illiterate or staying in remote areas. They are unaware of the application process.”


Nurul Azwa Aris

December 22, 2018 3:41 PM

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