Sabahan gets citizenship back after 20 months

KOTA KINABALU: Seventy-eight-year-old Yong Lee Hua @ Piang Lin got her Malaysian citizenship back after a traumatic 20 months that turned her life upside down.

Yong, a Sabah bumiputra, who received her MyKad yesterday demanded to know why it took so long for the National Registration Department (NRD) to sort out her woes.

“I have been suffering and waiting for two years without an identity card. Now in just three minutes of turning up at the department I am given my MyKad.

“What does this mean, what have I done wrong? I want to know!” said Yong, a Sino-Kadazan from Penampangan, who was at one point screaming and crying as she received the MyKad from NRD officers.

After finally getting her MyKad and her citizenship back, she is demanding to know why the NRD took so long to sort out her woes.

Yong’s nightmare started when the NRD made her a permanent resident after she lost her MyKad in February last year.

Following this she had trouble gaining access to her bank and Amanah Saham Nasional accounts, before her plight was highlighted by Tan Sri Bernard Dompok’s party.

Home Minister Datuk Syed Hamid Albar who was at the NRD head office here for a briefing, told reporters that he had decided to consider granting the citizenship to Yong as it was a genuine case.

However she was never registered as a citizen and held a permanent resident status but was mistakenly issued a citizen’s identity card by the NRD in 1996, he said.

“It was only when she lost her MyKad did NRD officials realise that she was not a registered citizen and reverted to her status as a permanent resident. That is why she got back her permanent resident status,” he said.

Syed Hamid, in stressing that there was no conspiracy involved in the NRD decision, said that there were about 30,000 citizenship applications in Sabah involving locals.

He gave an assurance that each application would be carefully studied and genuine cases would be resolved, adding that native Saba­hans were rightful Malaysians but explained that Malaysia did not allow dual citizenship.

Syed Hamid said he had directed NRD to make it clear that applying for permanent resident status and citizenship were not a right but a privilege.

Full Star report here.

Citizenship for Sabahans a right, not privilege

The Home Ministry has no power to grant or withdraw citizenship from Sabahans as that would contravene the Malaysia Agreement and the Federal Constitution, said Sepanggar MP Eric Majimbum.

“It is the law that determines whether a local Sabahan is a citizen and it has been agreed in the Malaysia Agreement and the Federal Constitution that all Sabahans are citizens,” said Majimbum in a statement.

He was commenting on Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar’s statement in The Star yesterday that he had directed the National Registration Department (NRD) to clearly state that permanent residency and citizenship were not rights but privileges.

Full Mkini report here. (subscription required).

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Pertinent questions?

How on earth can a non-citizen have Amanah Saham Nasional accounts unless that person IS a Malaysian in the first place with proper bank records to support the account?

How secure and accurate are the Mykad records at the NRD?

What dual citizenship is SHA babbling about for this case?

Should Mdm Yong sue the Home minister and the NRD for dereliction of duty?

Perhaps, the Home minister should just quit his job and stay home coz he’s not at all conversant with the Federal Constitution and the laws therein with regard to citizenship entitlements.

But then again, under the ISA, he has absolute discretion to detain any person he deems as a threat to national security and incarcerate such person at the Kamunting detention camp without judicial review.

Makes one wonder how the immensity of a ministerial position with all its profound legal powers can be assigned to someone so inept. Can’t blame his boss though coz that bloke’s quitting in about five months for his own errr… ineptness.

Soooo… SHA, how do you sleep at night knowing another 30,000 cases in Sabah must be resolved?

And please don’t say “I still have a lot of work to do” to stay on the job coz that phrase is already patented.