Friday, October 3, 2008

Puteri Umno deputy chief : issue of changing the status of a Sino-Kadazan Sabahan to that of a permanent resident should not be politicised.

Puteri UMNO Deputy Chief Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said the matter can be resolved as it only involves the Sabah branch of the National Registration Department (NRD).

"Of course, this should not have happened but there is still time to resolve the matter instead of politicising it," she told reporters when met at her joint Hari Raya open house with Assistant State Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Gulam Khan Bahadar, at the Papar Community Hall, Thursday.

Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Bersatu (Upko) Deputy President, Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, had said last week that the party would reconsider its position in the Barisan Nasional (BN) if the matter was not rectified.

The statement was made following the NRD issuing a permanent resident identity card to local resident Yong Lee Hua, 78, who lost her identity card which stated she was a Malaysian citizen.

Several other local leaders have also voiced dissatisfaction over the manner in which the National Registration Department (NRD) had dealt with Yong's case.

Meanwhile, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sabah has asked the NRD to explain the apparent different "sets of rules" or "double standards" practised in Sabah in securing identification documents.

Its Deputy Chairperson, Christina Liew, said Thursday that while Sarawak NRD does not accept certification by local chiefs or village headmen that those applying for identity cards are local residents particularly from the longhouses, the Sabah NRD simply acknowledges an attestation by a village chief or a statutory declaration (in lieu of a birth certificate) for applications of the MyKad.

"Sarawak NRD insists on the applicant producing a birth certificate as proof of origin but its Sabah counterpart seems to be very lenient and accepts declarations by the Ketua Kampung even though the applicants are obviously outsiders without birth certificates.

"This is a blatant display of 'double standards' in the NRD's system. Is there a larger political agenda involved?" she queried.

Liew said, as a consequence, illegal immigrants in Sabah have taken advantage of the laxity to obtain MyKads for themselves and become automatic Malaysian citizens.

"It is no secret that many dubious voters have made their way into the electoral rolls and cast their ballots in several general elections, becoming 'kingpins' of the country's political destiny.

"By default, if they succeed in gaining entry to the State Legislative Assembly one day, it will be too late to cry over spilt milk," she pointed out.

On Tuesday, Sarawak's ruling Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Secretary-General, Dr Stephen Rundi Anak Utom, told Daily Express that the Sarawak NRD's requirement is so stringent that people in remote longhouses who do not have birth certificates cannot apply for their identity cards despite the fact that they are locals through and through.

"The department should be more lenient. But no, their response for consideration is that cold that they do not even recognise the declaration from the Penghulu or Ketua Kampung. Some of the officers are even very mean," he was quoted as saying.

- Daily Express, Sabah

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