Posts Tagged ‘Citizenship’

Girl proves Malaysian citizenship claim via DNA test

May 31st, 2013
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 This is interesting. The judge asked the parties involved to settle the claim. The girl underwent DNA test and its proven she’s biological daughter of a Malaysian man. Remember, the NRD can reject claim for citizenship without need to give any reasons, so how are they going to handle this? I suppose she’s not terrorist/communist/committed treason/having duplicate citizenship. She’s going to school, so should be able to converse in BM, sing Negaraku etc.

 The govt had filed to strike out claim based on technicalities, but obviously that’s not going work in terms of popularity or justice in the eyes of community. Its clear cut she’s Malaysian.

Can future cases be solved in this manner? All those having citizenship claim should submit copy of DNA test alongside application form.

 

A 13-year-old girl went through a DNA test and successfully proved that she is the biological daughter of a Malaysian citizen and is, therefore, entitled to get citizenship.

High Court judge Justice Rosilah Yop asked the parties involved in the civil dispute to look into possibility of settling the claim after the DNA findings confirmed that her biological father was a Malaysian, her lead counsel Annou Xavier said on Friday.

Xavier said that the report dated April 26 from the Chemistry department had confirmed that Malaysian lorry driver S. Nanthakumar was the girl’s biological father.

Xavier said that the Government, during a case management of the suit, had asked the girl to go for a DNA test.

The girl – Yanesha – has named the National Registration department (NRD) director-general, the Home Ministry secretary-general and the Government as defendants.

Senior Federal Counsel Maisarah Juhari confirmed the details saying that she would consult with the defendants on whether they want to settle the claim.

Speaking to reporters here after the court proceedings in chambers, Xavier said that the Government had, so far, filed an application to strike out the claim for a citizenship.

“They said it (the dispute) should be filed by way of a judicial review application and not by way of asking for declarations through a civil claim,” he said.

He said the defendants said that the girl had delayed making the application by many years.

Xavier said the girl had applied for citizenship under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution (special power to register children) in 2005 and 2011 but there had been no response from the NRD director-general.

“Yanesha had to apply for a student pass from the Immigration Department to enrol in a public school and sit for examinations,” he said.

He said the judge had set July 31 to ascertain the outcome of the matter.

Yanesha, whose father is a Malaysian and mother Judith Guballo is a Filipina, filed the civil claim through her aunt S.Yogeswari.

Yanesha, who was born at Bandar Sunway on May 3, 1999, is currently staying with her aunt after her parents separated.

She was given a birth certificate with the status Bukan Warganegara’ (Not Malaysian citizen).

Among others, Yanesha is seeking a declaration that she is a citizen under the Federal Constitution and wants the court to direct the defendants to issue a new birth certificate and a MyKad to her.

She is asking for an order that NRD registers and updates her name into the register as well as damages and costs.

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?sec=nation&file=/2013/5/17/nation/20130517125221

Stateless Indians

December 12th, 2012
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What is statelessness? It means you are not tagged to a nationality (country), or in other words, you are not a citizen of any country. You may be given a status of permanent residents, but that’s not the same as being a citizen.

There are many figures being bandied about on the number of stateless Malaysians of Indian origin in Malaysia. Ranging from a small 9000++ (result of MyDaftar forms taken) to 450,000 (estimation by Hindraf based on Khir Toyo’s statement of 40,000 stateless Indians in Selangor itself, back in 2008). Pakatan Rakyat in recent times is saying there’s about 300,000 of them, which is based on some hypothetical estimation.

The truth is, no proper study has been conducted on this issue. At best we can have some sampling or exercises like MyDaftar which can provide some estimates. MyDaftar relies on the number of forms taken by potential applicants. If 9,000 forms were taken, doesn’t mean only got 9,000 cases, although one can ask why others didn’t take the forms. Maybe unaware, or unable to do so?

I’m taking an unorthodox (and probably another ballpark figure) way to estimate. If I add up my family, relatives, friends, acquaintances etc., probably there’s about 1000 Malaysian Indian people in my circle of contacts. Out of that, I know of less than 5 cases of people having permanent residence status. If extrapolate to 2 million Indians, then would be at least 10,000 PRs. Let’s triple it, for the sake of missing out those in underserved areas. so, 30,000 cases.

Secondly, the number of Indian plantation workers is dwindling by the day. If there are 30,000 such workers (x 4 for family members = 120,000 people), is it possible all of them are stateless? Further more, there is an influx of workers from India, so there’s a risk of these workers being categorised as stateless Malaysians as well. Let’s say 50% of the people are stateless, so that’s about 60,000 people.

Third, Tamil schools are one way to identify kids with no documentation. If a school has 20 such cases, then x 523 schools = 10,460 cases. If the family of the kid is also stateless, then 10, 460 x 4 (4 in a family) = 41,840 cases.

Total them up: 30,000 + 60,000 + 41,840 = 131,840, round it upwards to nearest ten thousand -> 140,000 stateless people is my upper bound ballpark figure. Obviously some of the people will be double counted if school and plantation is in same place. I guess a more realistic figure is about 50,000 – 100,000 stateless people.

Question that arise is are the efforts taken to register them sufficient? Is some sort of “amnesty” required to get them citizenship? Can there be a one-off process to settle this issue?

While politicians battle it out, one NGO has been working in these kind of issue for nearly 30 years. DHRRA Malaysia has plenty of experience handling statelessness issues. They estimated that between 2003 and 2006, 20,000 cases of women without documents were recorded. While in the article below, they mentioned about submitting 7,000 cases to NRD.

IT all started in 1974, when a group of young volunteers ventured into the outskirts of cities to help empower Indian women with knowledge and basic skills.

However when they got there, they had to deal with a much bigger problem involving statelessness, which was prevalent in the rural communities especially in estates and plantations.

The group that later registered themselves under the name Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas, Malaysia (DHRRA), decided to take on the monumental task of giving back identities to these stateless people and have been doing so for over three decades now.

“Since we started, until today, we have submitted over 7,000 cases of people not having any reliable data on them to the National Registration Department (NRD) and we have managed to resolve about 5,000 cases so far,’’ said DHRRA president Saravanan Sinapan.

Saravanan said a major stumbling block was the long and winding process with some cases taking as long as three to four years to resolve.

“A big problem we face is when gathering information such as the mother’s name when trying to help stateless children.

“It makes our job doubly hard as it takes time, effort and funds to track down lost family members,’’ he said.

He related a case of a young boy who had come to them seeking help to get a permanent citizenship and the struggles he and his adoptive family endured with government agencies.

“His mother had left with a neighbour when he was a baby,’’ related DHRAA women’s programme director Nanthini Ramalo.

“The neighbour decided to adopt him, and when he was 12, they managed to get him a green IC, which is only temporary identity document,’’ Nanthini said.

According to Nanthini, green IC holders are neither citizens nor permanent residents. However, those with green card ICs and birth certificates are able to apply for a MyKad.

But the problem was, the boy had no information of his birth mother. Her identity was a crucial information required for him to apply for his legal documents.

“He came to us seeking help when he wanted to further his studies in a local university but was deemed stateless and could not qualify,’’ she said.

The process to get his MyKad was a long and frustrating process of government red tape and endless trips to the NRD office to track down his birth mother.

“The NRD’s requirement is that the mother’s name must be furnished and luckily for us, we managed to eventually find her through a public appeal via The Star.

“Just imagine if we could not find her (the mother), the boy would never have been able to further his studies and would have ended being exploited for his statelessness through no fault of his own,’’ Nanthini said.

According to Saravanan, there are hundreds of similar cases of parents not registering their children’s birth in Malaysia, and the majority are from the plantation and estate workers.

“Due to the their statelessness, they have lived a life of poverty and discrimination and often end up languishing in detention centres simply because there is a lack of data on them, and what is worse is this vicious cycle of statelessness is handed down to the next generation,’’ he said.

While DHRRA deals with each application on a case-by-case basis, but with countless trips to the NRD and long delays are hampering them from helping people in a similar state in a more holistic manner.

But the matter, Saravanan said, can be expedited if the government were to conduct an amnesty exercise for stateless communities just like what they did for illegal immigrants under the “6P” programme last year.

“An amnesty exercise for the undocumented Malaysians can solve the problem stateless community as it is crucial to have good data to know the numbers as there have been a lot of confusion of late over the true number of stateless communities,’’ he said, adding that there still many people living without an identity in the outskirts.

Apart from that, another aspect of DHRRA’s role is to legalise marriages in the Indian community.

“You will be surprised to know that we have cases of couples going through a customary Hindu wedding ceremony without registering their marriage.

“We continuously stress the importance of having proper legal documentation and empowering women by educating them on their rights; as they fail to realise that the ramifications of not being legally married pose future problems like their right to pension and property as well as the legitimacy of their children,’’ Nanthini said.

This, she added, was also common in the estates and plantation areas where the community does not see the need to register their marriages and children’s birth; as many families felt that they would continue to live in the plantations for the rest of their lives.

“It is only later when they migrate into urban areas, and when they start to look for jobs or try to secure bank loans or even apply for a government low-cost house, that the bitterness of their stateless state sinks in,’’ Saravanan said.

DHRRA also conducts marriage registration ceremonies nationwide as well as counselling services, workshops and training programmes for women.

It has centres in Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Negri Sembilan with the help of some 215 volunteers.

“Our volunteers are retired civil servants, headmasters, teachers and university students whose dedication and passion have made us stronger.

“Now, what we need is a change in policies and laws that would enable us to do more for the marginalised community,’’ said Saravanan.

For details, call 03-7874 7680/81.

source: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2012/11/22/central/12221251&sec=central

MP Kapar mom passed away without getting citizenship

October 11th, 2012
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Sad to hear the unfulfilled wishes of MP Kapar Manickavasagam’s mother. 56 years and still didn’t get citizenship.

At least my mother in law fared better, after trying for so long, will be getting her citizenship hopefully by next month.  She was born in Malaysia (but lived in India for a short while), married a Malaysian school teacher, and all her kids are Malaysians. She applied during MyDaftar again, but surprisingly, her name  was missing in the successful applicants list. After checking with NRD, it seems like some documents were lost in translation and we did not get the letter. Anyway, all issues settled and hope to hear good news soon.  And yeah, while should thank NRD and MyDaftar campaign, the resentment is still there on why it took so long and special program to settle it.

S Manickavasagam (PKR-Kapar) today put a human face to a long-standing issue by sharing with the Dewan Rakyat how his mother died without a Malaysian citizenship after 56 years of waiting.

He said that despite migrating from India to the Federated Malay States before 1957, she died last year only a permanent resident.

“I am an MP and I brought her to Putrajaya several times, and yet they didn’t give her an identity card.

“She was able to sing Negaraku, (speak) fluent Bahasa Malaysia and even English. Why?” he said while debating the budget.

According to the National Registration Department website, a holder of the red identity card is a permanent resident while a blue identity card denotes that the holder is a citizen.

His Sabak Bernam born mother-in-law, too, is facing the same conundrum and has also waited 56 years for her citizenship.

“I also did a search and found Tan Kim, aged 77 and born in Pahang who is still waiting for her identity card,” he added.

This, Manickavasagam (above) said, is despite 42,493 people awarded citizenships from 2008 to Mar 2, 2012.

Citing a written reply to him by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, he said as of Feb 29, there are 225,222 people who hold Malaysian permanent residency.

Of this, 162,233 are Indonesians, 35,856 are Filipinos, 8,950 Thais, 4,412 Cambodians and 13,771 are from other countries.

Speaking to Malaysiakini later, Manickavasagam said that the fact that his mother had died without gaining citizenship had really saddened him.

“That is why I am fighting for all mothers to have blue identity cards,” he said.

source: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/211329

I wonder if he applied through the MIC initiated MyDaftar campaign which was started since last year February.  Talking about MyDaftar, I can’t find detailed statistics but according to reports published in various sources:

9,529 people especially Malaysians of Indian descent had applied for citizenship. Of the total, 5,593 applicants were successful (I assume they’ve got citizenship, and that’s about 59%).

source: http://www.thesundaily.my/news/291826

The MyDaftar programme has received 9,529 documentation applications from the Indian community since May said Coordinator of the Special Implementation Taskforce (SITF) of the Cabinet Committee on Indian Community in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam

He said from the total, 6,527 were applications involving citizenship while the remaining was for other documentation registration such as birth certificate, marriage and identity card.

“The application for citizenship involving foreigners with entry permits numbered 3,770 and from the total, 2,016 were approved by the Home Ministry (KDN).

“We also received 1,922 citizenship registration applications from the Indian community born in Malaysia after independence and 1,479 [77% success rate] were approved by the NON,” he added.

source: http://www.mic.org.my/news-events/mic-news/2012/9500-applications-received-indian-community-under-mydaftar

He said MyDaftar also received 708 citizenship applications from those who were married to Malaysians and from the total, 600 applications [about 85% success] were approved by
KDN.
MyDaftar also received 12 citizenship applications from the children of such citizens and from the total, eight were approved by KDN.
On documentation of late registration of birth, Siva Subramaniam said  there were 1,778 applications and from the total 1,459 applications were approved by
KDN.

Interestingly, PKR highlighted two cases where the documents were issued under MyDaftar, but upon checking the citizenship status in the documents were “yet to be determined” (refer http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/199660).

 It would be good if proper statistics are revealed.

JPN clarification on naming of Hindu/Indian babies

May 2nd, 2012
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Got a confirmation by JPN that Hindu (or Indian) parents NEED NOT use a/l (son of) or a/p (daughter of) when naming their children. So, for example, Mahaletchumi a/p Saravanakumar can be Mahaletchumi Saravanakumar. The below is a screenshot of message exchange between Sharmalan and official FB page of JPN.

[click to enlarge]

Thanks to Sharmalan for sharing this

MyIndians doing their work to solve citizenship issues

January 15th, 2012
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Had the pleasure of volunteering with MyIndians last year for education workshop. They are also focusing on citizenship issues, so this is another avenue for community to get help. Contact them at www.myindians.com or click on MyIndians link at the sidebar of this website.

Statelessness — in which a person is without nationality or citizenship — is a social problem in Malaysia in which the numbers involved remain vague.

According to sources, there might be up to half a million unregistered and unrecognised Indians here.

However, since October last year, an independent portal, MyIndians.com, has been acting as a connecting medium for Stateless Indians to help each other.

Despite carrying out its work with little fanfare, the website accumulated 20,000 registered members and garners about 125,000 visitors a month.

The portal is manned by a team of less than a dozen officers, led by author-columnist Datin Vasanthi Ramachandran.

“Over the past year, we have helped about 3,000 cases, most of them concerning birth certificates and MyKad issues,” she said.

“Many of these Stateless Indians are poorly informed and live in fear of being found out, and it takes a lot of effort to convince them to trust us so we could help them.”

MyIndians.com promotes a community-helps-community concept via its “Helping Hands” section, where those in need of financial, educational or medical assistance can file in their cases which are then highlighted on the website for registered members to help.

When The Malay Mail visited MyIndians’ office in Jalan Desa Kiaramas, Mont Kiara, recently, Vasanthi and her team were preparing a holiday education programme for academically under-performing children, aged 10 to 15.

“Most of these children only know Tamil. They have little communication skills, so they have problems expressing themselves. We have come up with a fun, interactive programme so they don’t get bored and, at the same time, are inspired by what they learn,” said Vasanthi.

“We are doing what we can but more members of the community need to come forward and help, too.”

Cases resolved by ‘MyIndians.com’

• TWIN boys Kenny Jayraj Selvaraj and Kevin Suraj Selvaraj, 14, were adopted when they were just a few days old, by Selvaraj Amalraj and Josephine Retnam. The siblings were given up by their 17-year-old mother who was unable to care for them as she did not have Malaysian citizenship, resulting in the twins being issued red identification cards. The boys have since applied for citizenship on two occasions but their applications were rejected by the National Registration Department (NRD).

However, after discussing the matter with NRD officers and with the assistance of MyIndians.com staff, Selvaraj was advised to track down the twins’ biological parents. Their biological mother was traced, allowing for the necessary changes to be made to their birth certificates. The twins have now been awarded citizenship.

• Sarveswaran Saravanan, 13, had not been attending school as he did not have a birth certificate or identification card. Sarveswaran also could not be registered as his natural father was unreachable.

His mother, Packiam Gopal, was hesitant to seek assistance for fear of being penalised for not providing relevant information pertaining to the boy’s father. However, with the help of MyIndians.com, both mother and son have since submitted their application and been interviewed by the NRD.

• Sudagar Sadrasagaran, 31, never applied for a MyKad due to financial and personal issues. Also, his natural mother could not contacted. To obtain a birth certificate from the NRD, it is compulsory to have information on the applicant’s mother. With the help of MyIndians.com, the required documents were successfully traced. He is now a proud owner of a MyKad.

• Santiyah Mugunthan, aged four, could not be registered as her parents’ “marriage” was not legally binding. MyIndians.com provided assisted to the family by linking them to the relevant agencies, including the Social Welfare Department. Santiyah’s parents are now all smiles as Santiyah finally has a birth certificate.

• Suganthan Manivanan, aged one, was registered without his father’s details as his parents separated and, due to personal reasons, his father refused to cooperate. MyIndians.com discussed this case with the NRD and since then, both of Suganthan’s parents have registered their marriage. The authorities agreed to make the necessary amendments to the child’s birth certificate.

• Kaithiri Vengathiyah, 12, was given up for adoption because of financial restraints. Vengatiyah Chandariah and Sellamah Polliah raised Kaithiri as their own when she was only a few days old. Due to the lack of information on the biological parents, Kaithiri never received a birth certificate.

MyIndians.com advised her foster parents to track down the biological mother, who then gave consent enabling the NRD to proceed. Kaithiri received her birth certificate last month and is now due to receive her MyKad, too.

source: http://mmail.com.my/content/86444-website-help-indians