KOTA KINABALU, Nov 16 — Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the government will only issue birth records with different features from the birth certificate to stateless children born in the country, especially in Sabah.
The prime minister said the matter was discussed in the cabinet meeting, which agreed on the issuance of birth records with different colours from the birth certificates of Malaysians.
“The government will not issue birth certificates to children without citizenship status because it can bring about assumptions that they will obtain automatic citizenship,” he said when officiating at the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) 29th Delegates Conference at Likas Sports Complex here today.
Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, said the people of Sabah must be clear that any certificate or record would not automatically qualify them to get automatic citizenship status.
Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is also state BN chairman, PBS president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and Sabah BN secretary Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
Prior to this, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was reported to have said Putrajaya would cooperate with the National Registration Department and the Education Ministry to provide birth certificates for pre-school purposes to stateless children in Sabah based on humanitarian grounds.
Ahmad Zahid said the problems relating to the status of children without citizenship could be addressed at the tabling of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report investigating on the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah.
Najib was commenting on Pairin’s policy speech that touched on concerns pertaining to the announcement by the Home Ministry to issue birth certificates with ‘citizenship’ status or ‘permanent resident’ to stateless children.
On the RCI report that would be announced early next month, he said, RCI was a symbol of BN consensus and his agreement to the realisation of the commission’s establishment.
“I believe Tan Sri Pairin, the Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, who is leading the committee will examine the recommendations and conduct research and proposals to implement the recommendations in the report,” he said.
On land issue, Najib who also also Finance Minister, said the federal and state governments clearly practised a policy that approved communal land grants to those entitled to receive them, including providing additional allocations.
Earlier, Pairin said the rational and process to be used in the issuance of birth certificates to these children were unclear and not discussed in a transparent manner with the state government besides creating feelings of unsatisfaction and confusion among the people.
He was confident prime minister viewed the matter seriously and would find the best solution for the sake of national sovereignty.
PBS even proposed that the issuance of birth certificates to the children of illegal immigrants should be suspended until the RCI report was out and its recommendations implemented.
On the RCI, Pairin hoped the government was daring to accept the RCI’s recommendations and vigorously implement recommendations made.
“We want to implement effective strategies, including enforcement and Malaysian legal application that is more firm and tough as we need to discard the perception among illegal immigrants (Pati) that they do not have the right to intrude into Sabah as they like,” he said. — BERNAMA