Posts Tagged ‘Birth Cert’

Stateless Indians

December 12th, 2012
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to by Email

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.


JPN clarification on naming of Hindu/Indian babies

May 2nd, 2012
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to by Email

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
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to by Email

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 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,, 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.” 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 ‘’

• 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 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, 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, 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. 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. 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. 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.


MP Hulu Selangor Kamalanathan’s service centre

July 13th, 2011
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to by Email

Good effort by MP for Hulu Selangor, P Kamalanathan. Hopefully more people make use of such service centres. I think location of service centres should be publicised for all the 222 parliamentary seats and also the states seats. Can use local newspaper vendors, schools, places of worship, markets, 4-digit outlets, 7-11 stores, petrol stations, banks, popular youth hangout areas etc., as means to advertise to the public.

48 0ut of  362  (263+85+14) is 13.25%. Of course can’t expect very high rates because it depends on the departments to settle the cases. Do note, it says “solved” and “cleared”, but no mention of how many were successful. For the benefit of doubt, we assume all 48 were successful in obtaining their citizenship/documents.

BTW, looks like DHRRA members in the photos. Is this part of the MyDaftar initiative as well?

update:  got this from DHRRA Malaysia website:

Pusat Khidmat Rakyat Parlimen Hulu Selangor (Puskap) dengan kerjasama DHRRA Malaysia telah menyelesaikan sebanyak 48 permohonan MyKad, Sijil Kelahiran, Pemastautin Tetap dan permit masuk di daerah ini dalam tempoh bermula Oktober 2010 hingga Julai tahun ini.

Ahli Parlimen Hulu Selangor, P Kamalanathan berkata, permohonan itu melibatkan seluruh rakyat daripada pelbagai kaum dan peringkat umur.

“Saya bagi pihak penerima amat gembira apabila usaha membantu menyelesaikan permohonan MyKad dan dokumen kerakyatan berjaya dilakukan dengan sempurna.

“Kini, mereka mampu bergerak bebas, malah masa depan mereka lebih cerah dengan adanya dokumen ini,” katanya pada majlis penyerahan MyKad dan Sijil Kelahiran kepada 11 penerima di Wisam MIC Bahagian Hulu Selangor di sini.

Daripada 11 penerima itu, dua menerima MyKad dan sembilan lagi menerima Sijil Kelahiran. Hadir sama, Presiden DHRRA Malaysia, S Saravanan dan wakil pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO), Yoong Tham Fook. Kamalanathan berkata, sehingga kini Puskap telah menerima sebanyak 263 permohonan sama di mana 35 pemohon MyKad, 129 Sijil Kelahiran, 85 Pemastautin Tetap dan 14 permit masuk.

Menurutnya, daripada jumlah itu, 115 sedang dalam proses di Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN). Sementara itu, Saravanan berkata, terdapat beberapa kes melibatkan pemohon yang mempunyai tunggakan bayaran dan denda turut diselesaikan dengan bantuan Puskap.

Menurutnya, kerjasama diberikan Puskap banyak membantu dalam menyelesaikan kes seumpama itu selain membantu meringankan beban pemohon yang kurang berkemampuan.


Article on the service centre:

SINCE October last year, Hulu Selangor MP P. Kamalanathan’s service centre in Bukit Beruntung, Rawang has solved 48 cases in the district with regards to people not having identity cards (IC) and birth certificates.

According to Kamalanathan, there were cases of people in Hulu Selangor not having ICs and BCs when he went on his rounds.

“I told them to come to my service centre. We have received a total of 263 cases involving birth certificates and MyKad, 85 pertaining to citizenship and 14 cases of not having entry permits.

“We have submitted these applications to the National Registration Department (NRD) and they have cleared 48 cases thus far.

Happy day: Kamalanathan (squatting) presenting a young girl with her birth certificate at the Hulu Selangor MIC office in Kuala Kubu Bharu.

“There are still more people — orang asli, Malays, Chinese and Indians — coming to my service centre seeking for help.

“It does not matter which race or religion they belong to. We are 1Malaysia and we’ll do our best to solve their problems,’’ said Kamalanathan, who presented nine people with birth certificates and two individuals with MyKad at the Hulu Selangor MIC headquarters in Kuala Kubu Baru on July 4.

Those who received their MyKad were Manorni Malay and Kumaran Rajoo while the nine who received birth certificates were Nor Fitri Syahira Zarzuli, Nor Fitri Amalina Zarzuli, Jessita David, Jamuna David, Dhivashini Kaliyapan, Ubenthiran Kaliyapan, Tharanitaran Rick Clay, Daenise Wong Thiyagarajah and Abdul Sarip.

He said he was happy for the recipients knowing that they would have a peace of mind and able to lead a normal life from now onwards.

“The recipients can go to school, send in applications to receive aid from the Government and other benefits.

“The rest of the applicants will also be able to get their birth certificates and MyKad when we receive them,’’ he said.

Those in Hulu Selangor who are in the same situation can call Kamalanathan’s service centre at 03-6092 5094.


Projek Mendaftar Anak Malaysia

February 24th, 2011
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to by Email

This campaign is similar to MyDaftar by SITC. However, DHRRA Malaysia has been doing this for quite some time, only that now it has a name for the initiative.