Kinabalu, Sat. - Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) has urged the
National Registration Department (NRD) to speed up the issuance
of birth certificates to rural children and adults to enable
them to apply for identity cards and exercise their citizenship
MP Dr Maximus Ongkili said the number of people without birth
certificates and identity cards in the rural areas was still
huge and existing procedures to overcome the problem were
too cumbersome, lengthy and expensive for most village folk
in the interior.
the National Registration (Amendment) Act 2001 in parliament
last Thursday, Ongkili urged the NRD to simplify the procedures
for late registration and exempt or reduce the charges for
those involved, stressing that "exemption or reduction
of charges is provided for under the Act and accompanying
too long the Home Affairs Ministry and NRD have been placing
the blame on the rural communities for not registering early
the births of their children, accusing that rural people do
not realise the importance of birth certificates.
is a misplaced judgement. It is not true that rural people
do not place importance on acquiring birth certificates. The
real problem is that they do not have the money to pay for
travel and the necessary costs to register and acquire the
documents on time," he claimed.
who is also PBS deputy president argued that had the children
of rural families been born in hospitals and rural clinics,
they would automatically be registered for their birth certificates
because it would be so convenient to do and there would be
government personnel to assist.
of the rural people without birth certificates and therefore
without identity cards were born in their poor homes without
the attention of a rural nurse. The basic problem is poverty
and poor government service," he said.
the government to stop blaming the rural families for their
predicament, Ongkili appealed to the government to increase
the allocation for the NRD, "so that more rural visits
could be made by its officers to register and issue birth
certificates and identity cards to our rightful citizens who
are yet to get their proper documents."
the specific amendments to the Act which among others provided
for the Director General and Deputy Director General of the
NRD to be appointed by the Yang DiPertuan Agong, he hoped
that the amended Act would give the Department an improved
hope the amendments will make the NRD more transparent and
professional in carrying out its duties especially in Sabah
in light of previous involvement by its officers in fake I.C.
rackets as proven by the ISA arrests of 1996.
as well we hear only of "I.C. palsu" and not "Jabatan
palsu", he added.