Below are the responses to NRD on Sarawak-born stateless (undetermined persons). One time Sarawak-born without MyKad are referred by NRD as stateless. The other time, NRD referred them as undetermined persons.
NRD has been changing the terms instead of taking effort to resolve the complaints.
* NRD must settle the stateless cases fast
* Incompetent National Registration Department
Extracted from: theborneopost.com/?p=33824 (Apr 11, 2008)
Call to settle ‘stateless’ issue
By Martin Yee
NRD urged to help close long and uncertain chapter in the lives of ‘undetermined persons’
KUCHING: Sarawak-born “undetermined persons” will continue to live like aliens in their place of domicile unless there is another statewide exercise to register them.
Such a move will go a long way towards resolving the lingering issue of so-called “stateless” citizens in Sarawak which was brought to light recently by Kenyah Association committee member Gerarrd Lalo Laeng.
Certainly, prompt action by the National Registration Department (NRD) will help close a long and uncertain chapter in the lives of two female “undetermined persons” — Urai Usang and Elon Bun — from Long Apu, Baram, as well as those of more than 50 others like them in several Kenyah longhouses in Baram District alone.
Gerarrd, a 55-year-old engineer from Long Pelutan, Julan, is grateful to the Education Department for allowing students without identity cards in the area to sit for public examinations. He also thanked Baram Member of Parliament, Datuk Jacob Sagan, and state assemblyman for Telang Usan, Lihan Jok, for their support.
Meanwhile, he took to task NRD Sarawak Customers’ Services officer, Hamid Takip, for alleging that some tua kampung were not genuine when they agreed to stand as referees for IC applications by the longhouse people.
“The tua kampung know the background of the people who live in the longhouse,” he said. The NRD officer also alleged it was possible that the longhouse headmen might allow foreigners to get MyKad and that when a third party was involved, there could be other motives.
“The rural people don’t do this kind of thing. Most Sarawakians don’t want foreigners to settle in their kampung to avoid problems and complications.
“How can he say I, as a third party, might have other motives. I do it for my people out of social obligation with nothing to gain,” Gerarrd stressed.
He said after highlighting the plight of the “stateless,” he received a lot of phone calls supporting moves to solve the problems of not only Urai Usang and Elon Bun but also about 10 others in Long Pelutan, Julan, 15 from Long Apu, 10 from Long Anap and 20 from Long Palai.
“I also know of a Penan longhouse in Palai whose occupants also face similar problems. I used to pass by the area and know the people there well,” Gerarrd added.
He believed communication breakdown and lack of tact on the NRD’s part in dealing with the longhouse people to be one of the reasons why the latter’s applications were not processed.
On the claim that the applicants, mostly illiterate longhouse folk were not sure when asked the reasons for their applications, he said: “You must remember these people cannot understand Bahasa Malaysia spoken by the Semenanjung officers, some of whom only know their own dialect and a smattering of local Malay.
“They should help these people by using interpreters. Many of them complained that when they asked when their ICs would be ready, the standard reply was ‘tunggu dulu’, or ‘tiga bulan’ or ‘boss pergi meeting’.
“Also, the NRD should not use the excuse that their replies cannot reach these people because longhouse people can also receive mail even from overseas.
“Imagine the inconvenience and expenses involved to travel say from the Long Pelutan longhouse to Miri. It costs RM1,000 to hire a four-wheel drive — what about other costs like food and lodging? How could these simple folk afford to come to Kuching?”
Gerarrd noted that Urai’s case was rather peculiar in that she had yet to receive a reply to her application even though she has a birth certificate.
According to him, she was also given a baptismal certificate from the Roman Catholic Mission in her area when she was baptised as a baby. Urai has three sons and a daughter. Her eldest boy, Stanley Lipau, 17, who is also IC-less but has a birth certificate, is still in school but his future is uncertain.
To settle the issue once and for all, Gerarrd proposed a re-registration exercise be organised, saying the NRD helicopter service could fly to a designated area in Long San where all the people without ICs from the neighbouring longhouses could converge for registration.
Extracted from: theborneopost.com/?p=33806 (Apr 10, 2008)
Those without MyKad are ‘undetermined persons’: NRD
KUCHING: People without identity cards or MyKad are categorised as ‘undetermined persons’ and not ‘stateless’ people by the National Registration Department (NRD).
NRD Sarawak’s customer services officer Hamid Takip clarified this yesterday when asked to comment on the plight of two longhouse residents in Long Apu, Ulu Baram, was highlighted on the front page of thesundaypost.
The two Kenyah women in their 50s, Urai Usang and Elon Bun from Long Apu, Ulu Baram, who were born in Sarawak are frustrated because they do not have identity cards despite making two attempts to get one.
Kenyah Association treasurer and a member of the longhouse JKKK (Village Security and Development Committee) Gerard Lalo Leng was reported to have helped bring a group of people including Urai to NRD Miri office in 2002 to have their ICs made.
“For people who have lived in Sarawak for a long time and are born here, we recognise them as ‘undetermined persons’ because they do not have documents like birth certificates and identity cards,” said Hamid.
He said these people were mostly those who lived in the remote rural areas and were illiterate and did not understand the need to have any personal documents. Hamid said such people might have applied for MyKad but were unable to get them due to various reasons.
“They could have applied for the cards but did not submit complete documents as required by the department. Sometimes, we are unable to reach them in order to tell them to submit the necessary papers through the post.
“At other times, they did not come to our branches personally to apply for the MyKad themselves, but through a third party, who could be sincere and genuinely trying to help them but there are also devious people out there trying to use their ignorance to cheat them.
“We have to be extra careful when people apply for identity cards through a third party because we do not want them to get cheated,” Hamid said.
In another report published by The Borneo Post two days ago (April 8) , Telang Usan assemblyman Lihan Jok was quoted as saying that he understood that some officers were reluctant to approve these applications as there were stringent procedures to follow and therefore they were very careful.
However, Lihan said the officers should not question their applications, especially after their village headmen, penghulu and elected representatives had supported their applications.
Hamid said the state NRD had contacted its Marudi branch, and was now looking into the matter and studying the real situation in Urai’s case.
“Another reason could be that a person, after applying for the identity card, could have moved elsewhere and thus we were unable to trace him or her whereabouts,” said Hamid.
“Normally, if a person submits an application at our nearest office, say in Marudi, our staff there would check the application and forward it to our headquarters in Kuching for approval.
“We will process the application and if there is any problem like insufficient supporting documents, we will inform our Marudi office, which will in turn inform the applicant,” said Hamid.
He said the problem of contacting the person concerned might arise when he/she had moved elsewhere, and due to some miscommunication between both parties, the time taken to process a MyKad application was affected.
“We also have a mobile unit that goes to remote areas to provide services to save the rural folk time and expenses of going all the way to the nearest branches.
“In remote places like Long Busang in Ulu Belaga that are inaccessible by river or road transport, our mobile unit will go there by helicopter,” he added.
He said the mobile unit, based in Kuching, had schedules to follow when visiting the rural areas.
Hamid said the department always tried its best to help the people by making it convenient for them to apply for MyKad.
“As you can see in our office here, we have put up a lot of signages, posters, info television, suggestion box and pamphlets to inform, advise and educate the public on how to go about applying for a MyKad in our efforts to provide quality services.
“We also have a special counter to help senior citizens, people with special needs and expectant mothers,” he added. He said if the public had any complaints, suggestions or enquiries, they could call the department at 082-234054.
Extracted from: theborneopost.com/?p=33805 (Apr 10, 2008)
Sagan wants ‘stateless’ issue solved fast
KUCHING: Baram Member of Parliament Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan (pictured right) wants the National Registration Department (NRD) to solve the stateless issue in Sarawak fast.
He said the department and other authorities concerned should buck up and solve the problem, which was affecting many people in the rural areas.
“I believe that if village heads or community leaders have already certified them (people who are stateless) as Malaysians, I don’t see why they cannot get their ICs processed.
“I suggest that the NRD look into the matter right away as without such document these people will not be able to enjoy government assistance like medical services while their children will not be able to go to school,” he said when contacted through an SMS interview yesterday.
Sagan, who is Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry said this in response to thesundaypost’s story that highlighted the plight of two stateless Kenyah women in their 50s, Urai Usang and Elon Bun, from Long Apu, Ulu Baram.
They are among the more than 20 people from the longhouse who are stateless because they still do not have any identity cards even after two attempts to apply for one, although born and bred in Sarawak.
Following the report, The Borneo Post received a call from a man in Kpg Benuk near here, who only wished to be known as John, claiming that his uncle had also been suffering the same fate for 70 years.
He said his illiterate uncle had tried to apply for an identity card many times in the past but was unsuccessful each time.
“Last year, I helped him to apply for one, and enclosed with the application form were recommendation letters from the village headman, penghulu and the local MP Datuk James Dawos Mamit.”
Six months have passed but there was still no news of the outcome of the application, he said, adding that he had visited the NRD counter here at least three times and also called them up more than 10 times in the last three months.
“If the department does not believe in the letters signed by the community leaders and the people’s elected representative, I suggest the department carry out DNA test on my uncle and the whole family to prove that he’s truly our relative and a local,” he said.
John said his uncle had been deprived of government assistance such as going to government clinics or any private clinic whenever he got sick.
“He does not have a birth certificate nor an identity card. He only has a receipt bearing his name certifying that he is a participant of a rubber-planting scheme issued during the British colonial rule.
“Being stateless, he can’t travel to anywhere, not even to the hospital. When he is sick, he relies on traditional medicine at the village,” he said.
His uncle’s two younger sisters all have their identity cards, he added.
He said if the NRD could not even solve the (stateless) problem among people living near the city, it would be worse for those living in the deep interior like the Baram.
The Borneo Post also received an email from one Luca Ceschin who claimed that he knew a Bidayuh family of 10 living just two hours’ drive from the city, who were also stateless.
This family experienced the same fate as the two Kenyah women in Ulu Baram.
He said the family had tried many times to apply for identity cards but had always been unsuccessful.
He said it was unfair that thieves, drug dealers and gangsters had more rights than the law-abiding albeit stateless people - just because they had their precious identity cards.
“The four words ‘You don’t have ID’ seem to be more powerful than a gun in hand,” he said.
He hoped the authorities would help these stateless people fast otherwise they would continue to be trampled upon and not enjoy their rights as citizens of this country.