SAPP: Set up task force for citizenship of elderly
Kinabalu, Aug 28, 2009: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) elected representatives,
Datuk Liew Teck Chan, Datuk Eric Majimbun and Melanie Chia has called for
the setting up of a special task force to solely look into the citizenship
issue of many elderly Sabahans.
The party's Deputy Presidents. Liew and Eric as well as its Wanita
Movement Chief, Melanie were of the opinion that back logged cases
pertaining to citizenship applications by those born before Malaysia was
formed can be expedited through the special task force.
Eric, who is Sepanggar Member of Parliament, said that he had, in
Parliament, suggested the Government set up the special task force not
only to look into the citizenship issue but also application of Malaysian
Identity Cards by Sabahans.
Liew, the Likas Assemblyman added that the special task force must be
headed by a Sabahan as the person would be in a better position to
understand the situation in Sabah .
All three elected representatives including Melanie who is Luyang
assemblywoman, however were disappointed with the delay by the National
Registration Department (NRD) in processing the citizenship applications
especially for those who have been in Sabah before Independence .
Some of these people are already in their eighties and they are still
holders of Red ICs. They have tried repeatedly to apply for a Malaysian
citizenship which, according to the law, is automatic to those who have
been in Sabah before the formation of Malaysia , Melanie said.
According to her, SAPP Luyang office has more than 50 cases of citizenship
application and most are from the elderly.
"Yesterday they saw in the newspaper that 10 people have obtained their
Malaysian citizenship and most of the applicants were either foreigners
who married Sabahans or were the children of such a union.
"What saddens them is that they have tried again and again to obtain their
citizenship but were unable to. Then you get these people who were have
been in Sabah for less than 20 years getting the citizenship. It is very
frustrating for them," she said.
Melanie said her office had called up the NRD office here to find out the
status of the 50 cases and were informed that the applications have been
sent to Kuala Lumpur and were with the Minister.
"The NRD here don't even know about the cases. It seems like the office
here is just the post office which collects the applications and sending
them to the head quarters," she stressed.
Liew in supporting Melanie pointed out these applicants were also asking
why were only 10 applications from Sabah approved when there are thousands
more waiting for news.
"We are happy for the 10 who obtained their citizenship but at the same
time feel sorry for the others who have yet to receive any news pertaining
to their applications," he said adding that NRD should be looking at all
applications based on the merits of the applicants and not through which
political party that submits them.