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Sabah BN and Pakatan both blast Syed Hamid Albar - malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Politicians in Sabah across both sides of the divide are extremely unhappy with the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar’s ad hoc approach to documentation in the state - especially in light of the green identity card (IC) furore.

sabah illegal immigrantSince last week National Registration Department (NRD) offices in the state have begun re-issuing green Ics - while so many Sabahans are deprived of documentation.

Thousands have descended since Monday on their offices in Kota Kinabalu and Tawau - a hotbed of Indonesian illegal immigrants - to apply for the cards.

Those in Tawau have been turned away since Tuesday, since they refused to queue up for their turn, and have been told to come back on the weekend to collect numbers and await their turn.

"The approval process will be done online and centralised," said NRD Public Relations Officer Jainisah Mohd Noor in a statement. "We will not issue the document to just anyone."

suhakam roundtable kk sabah 020806 dr chong eng leongAnti immigration activist Dr Chong Eng Leong (left) charges that Syed Hamid is acting ultra vires to the federal constitution and PKR Sabah Chief Dr Jeffrey Gimpoi Kitingan wants" the whole exercise stopped until all questions are satisfactorily answered".

Dr Chong - formerly PBS Supreme Council senior member - left the party after it re-joined the BN and softened its stand on illegal immigrants, primarily.

State Assemblyman Harman Ibrahim (Sulabayan) disclosed that 400 students at one school alone in his constituency could not sit for the PMR and SPM (ongoing) examinations this year because they had no ICs.

Both state assemblyman Pang Yuk Ming (Merotai) and Harman question the latest NRD ruling that applicants for blue and red ICs must produce the marriage certificates of their parents.

"How can they produce something which has been lost?" asked the state assemblymen. "Often, this is also not possible in the cases of the many couples who have divorced."

Arbitrary home minister

syed hamid albar exclusive interview larger pix 231008 03Dr Chong reminded Syed Hamid that the green IC is not meant for those eligible for citizenship by operation of law and questioned the Home Minister’s arbitrary and high-handed manner in announcing the re-opening of applications for green ICs.

The Home Minister had recently pledged that "everyone in Malaysia would have an identity, but not necessarily a Malaysian one" when agreeing to accept applications for green ICs.

Green identity cards - abandoned in 2004 - are temporary documents issued to stateless persons with Malaysian birth certificates.

Eligible too are foreign spouses to Malaysians and those holding the IMM13 refugee status card.

It was learnt that those without any documents can still apply for the green ICs provided they are sponsored by their employers.

Previously, green identity cards were only issued under Regulation 5 (3) to foreigners who were in Malaysia for more than a year.

Dr Chong referred Syed Hamid to regulations 3, 5 and 27 of the National Registration Department Regulations 1990 which were relevant.

Regulation 3 deals with persons to be registered, Regulation 7 deals with the issue of identity cards and Regulation 27 deals with persons exempted from the IC regulations i.e. bona fide travelers in possession of a valid passport or other valid travel documents or official document of identity that has been stamped by an immigration officer of Malaysia to show that they can remain in the country for a period of 12 months or less., or that they are in transit.

immigrant workers 280205 moving outThe green ICs, said Dr Chong, should not be issued to refugees who hold IMM13, foreigners with a passport and sponsored by someone entitled to do so, and paperless or illegal immigrants or other children born in Malaysia, even if they are stateless, because they did not enter Malaysia lawfully.

"So, why is the NRD doing something against the regulations just because they are directed by the home minister?" asked Dr Chong.

"The federal government must have a comprehensive plan to tackle the problem of foreigners with IMM3, Project IC Mahathir, the paperless and the stateless. Not an ad hoc exercise like what is going on now."

Unverified documents

PKR’s main concern is that many of those holding Malaysian birth certificates may have obtained them fraudulently through false statutory declarations under the late registration of birth clause in the Sabah Births and Deaths Ordinance Cap 123 without verification, as required, in open court by a first class magistrate.

kitingan project ic 250107 jeffery kitingan"I believe that many of the alleged stateless persons are in possession of late registration birth certificates and unless they have been verified in court, the green card must not be issued," said Kitingan.

"In any case, the issue of the green card itself is being done outside the scope of the National Registration Regulations 1990 wherein the holder, if eligible, would be within the category of temporary resident."

"Now, those who obtain the green card are being given permanent stay of five years and are allowed to find employment without any restrictions.

"All the applicant has to do is to provide a birth certificate and/or guarantee from the employer.

"How do we know that the employees/employers are genuine?" Kitingan quizzed.

Across a broad spectrum, many want to know the real objective behind the issue of the green ICs, not just to foreigners, but also Sabahans who are not considered Malaysians -