In Chaah itself there are at least 25 red identity card holders all born in Malaysia

Yesterday 27th Oct. 2012, we had a program in Chaah, Johore to help and educate those with red Identity card, no birth certificate and citizenship problems. It was a Saturday afternoon and about 25 people came to see us. All holding red identity cards and born in Malaysia mostly in the 50s and above. In 2 cases the red identity card holders have done extensive documentation and submitted all the requirements but still blue identity card is not given.

Others were poor and simple estate folks, the mere documentation requirement and unfriendly front office in registration department have chased them away and they are looking for someone else to help in the documentation and getting the blue identity. Almost all of them have their siblings and children with blue identity cards. Yet the registration department wants documents that are 60 or 70 years old. These estate folks simply cannot produce them or they need help from those who are familiar with the procedures.

But Indonesians landing in Pengirang and other coastal towns in Johore are relocated to other districts and states on a daily basis even now. This is what Pakatan Rakyat is afraid off especially in Selangor. This is treason committed by the registration department, police and district offices and UMNO politicians to stay in power at all cost.

Yet Indians and Chinese, born in Malaysia with slightest error like born in estate without birth certificate, given red identity card. They have to get documents from penghulu, midwives, father’s and mother’s death certificates, siblings identity card copies etc to prove beyond doubt that they are Malaysians. Estate workers who are poor and ignorant cannot provide all documents and they end up living with red identity cards. These card holders don’t get as welfare, hospital support and they cannot vote. If in a small town like Chaah, Johore there are about 25 and much more, how about whole Malaysia?  300000 could be a realistic figure.

There were 2 cases of children not given citizenship because the mother is a foreigner and their marriage registered in Malaysia after the child was born therefore registration department classify them as illegitimate child. Even though both mother and father had their wedding registered in the country of mother’s origin but these so called “illegitimate” children cannot get their Malaysian citizenship under section 13/15A. This child will have difficulty in enrolling for schools. If they are Muslims the registration department will write father’s name as Abdullah and the child will be classified as legitimate.  

There was one case brought to our notice where a child born in police custody and the place of birth is written as Penjara (prison). The Penjara location too not mentioned. The innocent child carries this stigma for life.  This kind of couldn’t be bothered attitude of registration department clerks makes the child’s life miserable.

There was one lady who donot know how read Malay, didn’t collect her citizenship. We saw the letter dated one year ago to collect. Later on Monday she was taken to registration office in Segamat to collect but was told that the date to collect has lapsed and she has to start the procedure all over again. So near yet so far. But for Indonesians it is never far.

This is the kind of quagmire Indian Malaysians are caught in. They are kept under fear without proper rights given and misinformed. UMNO/BN has just neglected this group of estate workers who still live on the fringes of society without any right, dignity and pride. These are the people who are easily overwhelmed by hampers and rice bags.     

The educated and well to Indians have to come forward to lift these poor cousins in rural areas. Unfortunately their own children are of less help due low level of education and not well to do. Political awareness is needed to bring political change.

Explore posts in the same categories: From the desk of Senator S Ramakrishnan

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