Two news reports got me thinking whether Malaysian citizens are getting short-changed with their lives.

Story one: She lost MyKad, now citizenship gone too (NST – 26/09/08)

PENAMPANG: At 78, Yong Lee Hua alias Piang Lin’s life as a Malaysian has been put on hold.

She is no longer recognised as a Malaysian citizen after losing her MyKad to a pickpocket last year.

The National Registration Department replaced her lost MyKad with a red identity card — that for permanent residents — though she was born and raised in Sabah,

Yong is now unable to withdraw money from her bank or Amanah Saham Nasional accounts, transfer land to her children or renew her passport to travel — something she has been wanting to do since her husband of 60 years died a few months ago.

“I was born in Kampung Mahandoi (about 5km from here), grew up, got married and bore eight children here. The eldest is 58 years old and the youngest is 32. But suddenly, I am stateless,” she said at her home in Kampung Nosoob. Yong, of Sino-Kadazan parentage, had appealed to the National Registration Department for a MyKad but was told to apply for citizenship.

She obliged, although not quite understanding why she had to when she was already a citizen.

Yong sought the help of Moyog assemblyman Donald Mojuntin, to solve her predicament and “reclaim” her citizenship.

Mojuntin heads the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation party’s citizenship and security bureau. He said he would seek an appointment with the NRD director to help resolve the matter.

He will also ask Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok to bring up the matter with the Home Ministry.

He questioned the department’s rigid stance and their failure to find out why someone with an identity card and a passport could be stripped of citizenship and made a permanent resident.

Story two: Ruler calls in officers over Ragu’s plight (NST – 26/09/08)

IPOH: Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah has summoned state executive councillor A. Sivanesan to the palace with regard to the National Registration Department’s directive to R. Ragu, 33, to obtain a supporting letter from the ruler to apply for a MyKad.

Besides Sivanesan, the directors of the state National Registration Department and state Welfare Department were also summoned to Istana Kinta at 2.30pm today.

“I was informed by the ruler’s office that he wanted the government officers to brief him on Ragu’s case. He is showing concern over the lives and living conditions of his subjects,” Sivanesan said here yesterday.

Ragu’s plight was highlighted in the New Straits Times yesterday.

He had been told by the NRD in Putrajaya to get a letter from Sultan Azlan Shah to enable him to obtain a permanent identification document. Ragu, his wife G. Neelaawathi, 27, and their three young children arrived here on Tuesday to meet Sultan Azlan Shah to obtain the necessary supporting document.

The family has been sleeping and bathing at petrol stations since their arrival here.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said his ministry would be reissuing a temporary identification document to Ragu immediately.

“He can go to the Perak NRD tomorrow or Monday and obtain his green (temporary) MyKad until the ministry considers his application for a permanent (blue) MyKad,” he said after attending buka puasa with Perak NRD staff here yesterday.

He said the government stopped issuing the green MyKad in 2004 but stressed that the ministry planned to re-issue them for the sake of thousands of Malaysians who found it difficult to earn a livelihood without such a card.

Syed Hamid also said the ministry would conduct an investigation to find out who had misled Ragu on the procedure of getting the MyKad.

“He should not have been asked to go to the palace to obtain the letter. We do not involve the Rulers in this situation. That is not the way we (the NRD) operate.”

He said the ministry would find a solution for the thousands of Malaysians who did not possess MyKad, adding that the ministry would not sideline any of them.

He said the ministry would attend to Ragu’s problem immediately, adding that it could have been avoided if the parties concerned had carried out their duties diligently.

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Soooo… SHA, how’s life lately? Hope yer fasting diligently this Ramadan coz I think others, like the folks above, may not have an appetite even if they can afford the high cost of living nowadays.

Let me give yer a bit of advice though. That Home ministry portfolio yer got has a great impact on the lives of Malaysian citizens and it would take someone truly dedicated as a public servant particularly the minister in charge to have it run efficiently. Don’t lah just concentrate on one aspect only i.e. national security coz this nation ain’t at war with anyone.

Your negligence and short-sightedness in fulfilling your duties as a publicly appointed official is making life miserable for certain people and to make it worse, now even the royalty and your BN colleagues have to step in to help you out. Perhaps, yer busy with that UMNO transition or election thingy going around nowadays but it’s no excuse to slack. C’mon man, buck up or ship out, will yer.

Don’t think that having the power to sign ISA detention papers is the only job you should or can do. Oh yeah, that reminds me. How does the RMP decide what RPK wrote about Islam was insensitive to the muslims? I thought that was the prerogative of the royals and the relevant islamic authorities in their respective state, and I don’t recall hearing them saying anything about it. Least of all, putting RPK under a two year detention in KDC.

Are you not therefore over-extending the ISA parameters to encroach on the domain reserved for the royals as decreed in our Federal Constitution? And yet, you have the temerity to lambast another minister for over-stepping his official boundaries.

Speaking of boundaries, we lost PBP because of you, didn’t we?

How do you sleep at night, SHA?