KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 — The National Unity and Social Development Department, which now oversees the Socio Economic Development of the Indian Community Unit (SEDIC), is constructively working with the Home Ministry to resolve the citizenship issue of stateless individuals.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (National Unity and Social Wellbeing) Senator P. Waytha Moorthy in statement today said the department aims to ease the path for citizenship for those genuinely deprived due to circumstances and rigid rules of the previous government.
“A fair and just approach, under the new government, will no doubt enhance their social well-being especially for lower income earners and allow them to progress along with the growth of the nation. I am confident that the government under the able leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would strive to ease the pain suffered by these stateless and undocumented individuals.
“It is heartening to note that the Prime Minister understands the predicament faced by these individuals and has directed all senior permanent residents (above the age of 60) with red MyKad and the offsprings (below the age of 60) of parents where one them is a Malaysian citizen be given citizenship status,” he said.
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir announced permanent residents who are holders of the red identity card aged 60 and above will be given citizenship status and issued with the blue identity card.
This would include 3,407 Indians aged 60 and above and had been the holders of the red identity card who would be recognised as Malaysian citizens.
Waytha Moorthy said Dr Mahathir has also given him his assurance to come-up with a permanent and comprehensive solution to the issue, made when he met Indian voters in Langkawi in the last General Election.
He said it will not only benefit the individuals concerned but also children who have suffered social well-being dilemma due to their inability to obtain citizenship.
“The government is also focusing on other areas that may have contributed to statelessness such as lack of documents, poverty, birth at home, abandoned children, adoption of Malaysian-born orphans, unregistered marriages, ignorance, apathy, and fear of authorities.
“Ten different categories based on the above were put forward by me before the Prime Minister and extended to the Home Ministry with recommended solutions within the ambit of the law. It would only need a change in policies and people-friendly measures from the ministry.
“Individuals facing difficulty gaining citizenship due to various reasons can obtain assistance from SEDIC. Those needing assistance can contact SEDIC officers Elayyaraja Krishnan or Nor Atiqah Sani at 03-88866076 and 03-88866115 during office hours,” he said. — Bernama