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2008 Dec 7 - Sabah NRD head no say on citizenship applications?"

"What's the point appointing a Sabahan to head the NRD when he has no say on citizenship applications?"

KOTA KINABALU (Dec 7, 2008 ): The National registration Department (NRD) here only has jurisdiction over the issuance of birth and death certificates.
All applications for citizenship have to be submitted to Putrajaya and only the minister concerned has the final say.
This was disclosed by the newly-appointed Sabah NRD director Datuk Abdul Jaffear Henry to Luyang Assemblywoman Melanie Chia at his office here on Friday.
Melanie who had gone to see Abdul Jaffear to hand over 49 complaints about citizenship applications was apparently irked by the disclosure and had asked “what’s the point of appointing a Sabahan to head the NRD then?”.
She also questioned whether the federal minister’s power superseded the Federal Constitution as according to the Malaysia Agreement 1963, every resident of Sabah (then North Borneo) on the formation of Malaysia shall be automatically accepted as a citizen of the federation (of Malaysia).
“This is also clearly stated in the Constitution, but it seems that the Home Minister has absolute power on the matter,” she said.
Meanwhile Melanie said a majority of the complaints involved holders of the red IC who had been applying for their citizenship for many years, but to no avail.
There were also those whose children were currently rendered ‘non-citizens’ or ‘stateless’ due to late registration of their marriages, especially following the introduction of the new marriage registration law in 2001.
“There was one case where the complainant had been waiting for the last four years for his replacement IC.
“The NRD also failed to inform him the reasons for the delay except allowing him to renew his application every year,” Melanie said.
In another case, the applicant who had been informed by the State NRD to collect his IC was later not allowed to do so as they found that he looked different from his parents.
Meanwhile, Abdul Jaffear promised Melanie that he would do his best to follow up and resolve all the complaints submitted by her.
To show his commitment, he even instructed the relevant officers to immediately attend to the said complaints.
He also thanked Melanie for her efforts in facilitating the submission of the complaints and reiterated that his department would do its level best to serve the people.
Abdul Jaffear, a former deputy state immigration director of Sabah was appointed to his current position at the height of calls by various quarters in the state including political leaders from the ruling coalition, to appoint a Sabahan to the post.
(extracted from New Sabah Times)


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