Posts Tagged ‘Sabah’

PR for Sabah Indians

July 6th, 2011
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Wow! nearly 45 years problem…


Some 200 indians who came to Sabah in the 1960s to work in rubber plantations in Lahad Datu and Tawau can now look forward to getting their permanent residency (PR) status.

Sabah MIC liaison committee chairman V Jothi said the deputy state secretary Maznah Abdul Ghani had given them this assurance.

“I met with Maznah on June 30. We trashed out several issues affecting the Indian migrant workers communtiy in Sabah.

“Among these issues were PR, land resettlement and welfare assistance for the elderly,” he said.

Jothi said he had also discussed the Migration Workers Fund Board Scheme with state welfare and labour department officers.

He said at the meeting they had confirmed the list of migrant workers who had come to Sabah from peninsular Malaya begining 1968.

“We have identified and submitted applications for PR status for 201 people.

“Eighty-two of the applications have been identified. I will be bringing the names to Chief Minister so that the state government can give them the PR status.

“We will be looking into the plight of the others as soon as possible,” he said.

Jothi also raised the land resettlement issue with Maznah and was assured that the matter would be brought to the CM Musa Aman’s attention.

Unkept promises

Jothi said the migrant workers had also been promised a 15-acre piece of land, by the then state government when they first came to Sabah to work.

However this promise was not kept. Many of them have since died but their children are living and working in Sabah.

However many of these children and grandchildren are yet to be registered with the National Registration Department (NRD). This too is an issue which the party will resolve soon.

Jothi disclosed the status of the migrant indian during state MIC’s 13th convention at a hotel here on Sunday night. Also present was national MIC president G Palanivel.

Palanivel said that he had been informed that the migrant workers were mostly deployed to rubber plantations in Lahad Datu and Tawau.

“This is a matter that is long overdue.

“Some of these workers have since passed away but their children should be honoured and given the chance to participate in land resettlement programmes,” he said.

Living in poverty

The Sabah MIC has been steadily reviving its role in the state, particularly championing the needs of the local minority Indian and other needy communities.

In May, the party’s state Youth chief Taran Manoharan asked CM Musa Aman to revive a “nominated-seat” once held by the community in the State Legislative Assembly.

According to Manoharan when the state constitution was first drafted, the goverment had made allowances for “nominated seats” in the State Assembly mainly to cater for the minority groups in Sabah.

He said it was necessary for Indians in Sabah to have a voice.

“This is because the problems faced by the Indians in Sabah are peculiar.

“The Indians residing in Sabah were brought to work here under the Migrant Workers Fund Board Scheme from Malaya.

“Those people entered into an agreement with the Board which was established on Aug 25, 1966.

“Among the terms of the agreement are that these people are eligible to obtain permanent stay status in Sabah and to participate in the land settlement scheme after they had worked for two years in Sabah.

“Unfortunately, these terms were not fulfilled by the authorities concerned.

As a result, some of these people and their children and grandchildren have been neglected and they are living below the poverty level,” he said.


Sabahan religion poser in MyKad

May 14th, 2010
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This indeed a shocking news!  I really hope that the allegation is not true. If thousands of Sabahans are facing this problem, then its a national crisis, no small joke. This in turn makes us question on the population statistics in terms of religion.

Sabahan non-Muslims in their thousands have been registered with ‘Islam’ as their religion on their MyKads, revealed a Sabah PKR leader today.

According to PKR Sabah deputy chief Christina Liew, they were assumed to be Muslims by the National Registration Department (NRD) solely because of the bin or binti in their names.

The situation has also arisen because many Sabahans have Muslim-sounding names though they do not profess the religion, she said.

Just as it is common for non-Muslims in Sabah to go by names commonly used by Muslims, many Muslims in Sabah also go by names usually associated with Christians, noted Liew.

What is disturbing, however, is the refusal by NRD in the administrative capital of Putrajaya to budge and address the unique situation in Sabah, the lawyer added.

The problem has long affected the Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia.

Many non-Muslims have complained that their religious status in MyKads have either been left empty – with the words tiada (none) for ‘religion’ – or a religion which is not theirs is entered in their identity documents.

The difference this time, according to the opposition activist, is the magnitude of the current problem.

“The federal cabinet should issue a directive on this issue to the NRD in Putrajaya,” said Liew.

“It has been bothering people for quite some time now, and it’s time that something was done at the administrative level to fix the problem.”

Liew has gone public with the matter after the state NRD director failed to meet her as promised yesterday, said Liew, and this after several postponements to discuss the complainants that she has recieved.

“It’s most unfortunate that the state NRD director went back on his word to have a dialogue on the issue,” fumed Liew.

“The government of the day must be open, transparent and accountable to the people. It would not hurt anyone to have a dialogue on the issue.

According to sources, the NRD in Putrajaya had warned its Sabah office against going ahead with the dialogue with Liew out of suspicions that she may also raise the issue of illegal immigrants being issued MyKads meant for nationals.

Liew had also proposed to NRD that the Sabah Islamic Affairs Council (JHEAINS), the syariah authorities and other relevant bodies be represented at the dialogue with the Sabah NRD.

There was no response to her proposal, however, from the government agencies beside the state NRD.

Liew also disclosed that the PKR Public Complaints Bureau, which she heads, has been swamped with several hundred cases of mistaken identity among non-Muslims ever since it was set up recently.

Liew said her own independent research suggests that the problem runs into the thousands.

Further compounding the problem is the practice by the NRD of unilaterally giving Muslim names to non-Muslims in the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak “to make it easier for them to get birth certificates,” alleged Liew.

Their problems begin, she explained, when they have to collect their MyKads and find their cards stating their religion as ‘Islam’.

Liew said she will embark on a signature drive among affected MyKad holders and seek to submit them together with other relevant evidence to the federal cabinet.

She cited the experience of Adenin bin Ahmad, a Christian Dusun from Tuaran, as a case in point.

Both he and his 82-year-old father Joseph Ahmad – who still has his baptism certificate – were listed as Muslims by the NRD years ago after they changed their old identity cards in 1999 for the MyKad.

They had sought to change their identity cards to reflect their Christian profession.

Attempts by father and son to rectify thee mistake on their MyKads went unsuccessful, despite having filed statutory declarations to assert that they were not Muslims.

Adenin has been unable to obtain a certificate for his marriage as well as a birth certificate for his three-year-old daughter due to the confusion over his religious status.

Strangely enough, his two other children have birth certificates.

Adenin said he had officially written to JHEAINS to seek its declaration that he is not a Muslim.

On Aug 4 last year, to a letter requesting the department to declare that he is non-Muslim, JHEAINS replied that it could not find Adenin’s record in its records of Muslim converts.

Unable to determine his religious status, it was paradoxically suggested to Adenin that he liaise with the syariah court to resolve the issue.

To add insult to injury, the state NRD wrote to him on Jan 25 this year to advise him that his application to change his name and religious status had been rejected.

He was then advised to obtain a declaration from either JHEAINS or the syariah court that he was “no longer” a Muslim, though he has never been a Muslim to begin with.

“Is there such a thing as a ‘Muslim’ name?” asked Adenin.

“Omar Shariff, the famous Lebanese actor who was born in Egypt, is a Roman Catholic. He’s Omar Shariff because he’s Arab and Arabs, no matter what their religion, prefer to have Arab names,” he noted.

Adenin said he feels the reason he’s been passed around like a football between the various authorities is to “make an example of him” and, in the process, make his life miserable.

Adenin also expressed fears that there would be further complications when a family member passes away, as the authorities may seize the body of the deceased for burial as a Muslim.

For Muslim Sabahans, however, Liew said the problem of mistaken religious identity has never arisn.

Muslims with ‘Christian-sounding’ names are said to not have faced problems in having ‘Islam’ registered as their religion in their MyKads, she said.

The NRD in Putrajaya, thus, practices double standards on the issue and is making things difficult for the rakyat “for no rhyme or reason.”

“What happened to the ‘People First, Performance Now’ pledge of the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak under the ‘1Malaysia’ theme of his administration?” asked Christina.

“He should not allow petty bureaucrats to run circles around him and frustrate his administration,” she added.

Muslims have their religion stated as “Islam” on the MyKad and this apparently includes non-Muslims with “Muslim” sounding names. Non-Muslims have their religion stated in the chip inside the MyKad and this can only be read by a card reader.

Sabah NRD Director Abdul Jaffear bin Henry, who is Muslim, was not immediately available for comments.

Volvo for Sabah EXCOs

February 19th, 2009
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Looks like the trend of changing cars is catching on. Terengganu, Perak, Selangor, and now Sabah. They’ve chosen Volvo instead of Mercedes or Toyota:

The Sabah government is replacing part of its Proton Perdana official cars with Volvo cars because they will be cheaper to maintain.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said the Volvo cars, to be acquired by state government-linked Angkatan Hebat Sdn Bhd, would be used by the 12 ministers and 16 assistant ministers.

“Senior civil servants, including the permanent secretaries in the various ministries, will continue to use the Proton Perdana cars,” Musa said after the Cabinet meeting yesterday.