Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Government must end the plight faced by the stateless Indians and declare an amnesty for those who have been denied citizenship due to technical reasons



Press Statement by M. Kula Segaran,  DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 13th June 2015

The Government must end the plight faced by the stateless Indians and declare an amnesty for those who have been denied citizenship due to technical reasons

My Red IC


On June 11, while winding up issues raised on the Home Ministry in the 11 Malaysia Plan parliamentary debate, the Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar   had replied in particular the point I had raised on the stateless people in Malaysia.

I had, during my debate on the 11th Malaysia Plan, raised the issue on the reported 350,000 Indians who are said to be stateless in Malaysia.

To this, the Deputy Home Minister denied that the figure was anything near 350,000. He said the government had launched the my daftar campaign in 2013 and nearly over 15,000 had come forward to seek assistance. From this, over 9,000 had made applications and over 6,500 were granted citizenship.

The Deputy Minister said that if I have the proof that there are as alleged 350,000 Indians who are stateless, then I should show proof of same. I immediately retorted that if the opposition becomes the  government, we can solve this issue within 100 days and the 350,000 figure was not plucked from the air by me. Over the years, many NGO’s have consistently confirmed the figure.

In fact, at a press conference held on April 25, 2012, Subang MP R Sivarasa provided a census report made in the 1970 by then chief statistician of Malaysia, R Chander.

Part of the Free Malaysia Today report on the press conference is as follows: 

Sivarasa explained that Chander’s projection for the population increase for 1990 for the Malay and Chinese communities was accurate.

“Chander projected that the Malay population would increase from 8 million to 8.9 million in 1990. In 1991, the census showed the Malay population was about 8.5 million.”

Sivarasa added that the Chinese population was about 4.6 million in 1991, which was in the range of Chander’s projection of between 4.5 million and 5.4 million.

“Chander projected that Indians would be between 1.4 million and 1.6 million in 1990 but the census showed that there were only about 1.3 million Indians. What happened to the rest?”

He attributed the lower figures to the mechanism used when the census was done in 1991, saying that the government only counted those with blue identification card.

“It’s already 2012 and I believe Surendran’s (MP for Padang Serai) 300,000 estimate is a conservative figure. It could be much more now,” Sivarasa said.

Hence, the 350,000 figure is not something that is manufactured and the government must tackle the problem of stateless Indians with the utmost urgency.

Although 6,500 stateless people were given citizenship after the launch of Mydaftar, the vast majority who benefited from the granting of citizenships were the elderly and the old, some as old as 70 years old. By denying these people from getting citizenship when they were in the youth, the government has denied them of getting jobs especially in the public sector, denied them hospital and welfare benefits, and denying them the chance to become members of EPF and SOSCO. 

Why should the government wait till they are already one leg in the grave before finally granting them citizenships?  Who to blame if not the civil servants and the government?

I myself was given a red Identity Card (IC) when I attained 12 years of age.  My parents were born in Malaysia. Yet only when I was about 14 years old that I was granted citizenship and a blue IC. If I had to go through this hardship, what about those who are uneducated and poor who could not fight the system?

Presently, the application for citizenship is tough with so many forms to fill and many questions to answer. The process should be made simpler for ordinary people to apply without difficulty. 

In fact, the Government must end the plight faced by the stateless Indians and declare an amnesty for those who have been denied citizenship due to technical reasons.



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