Friday, September 26, 2008


Local loses citizenship
Sino-Kadazan issued with Permanent Resident card instead of MyKad


Yong Lee Hua @ Piang Lin lost her Malaysian citizenship the day she lost her purse. The 78-year-old Sino-Kadazan who was born at Kampung Mahandoi here, had also lost access to her Amanah Saham Nasional and Alliance Bank accounts, and now is unable to renew her international passport which expired this year. “Life has not been the same, it is very difficult. I never depended on anyone before but now I have nothing to hold on to. I have lost everything,” Yong said, speaking fluent Malay, and would sometimes converse in perfect Kadazan when referring to her sons on some facts. Before, life had been great. Just a year ago, she had everything. She was free to move around and had even travelled abroad with her church group. “I have been to Israel, Hong Kong and Rome. Life was good for 77 years until I lost my purse to a pickpocket while shopping at a hypermall here in February last year. I only realised it was missing while standing at the counter to pay for my groceries. “I lodged a police report immediately after the incident, and later applied for the MyKad and was given this red- coloured card after a few months. Initially I thought it was nice and beautiful. I actually felt special. And so I paid the RM60 processing fee and couldn’t wait to get home. ‘At home, I quickly showed it to my children, feeling proud of my new card, but my happy smile quickly turned sour when they told me the card was for a Permanent Resident, which meant that I have lost my citizenship,” she said. They brought the matter up with the National Registration Department Office, bringing all support documents such as her Native Certificate issued by the Native Court on September 24, 1963, previous copies of her High Quality Identification Card and MyKad, bank books, and passport, but was told that the MyPR card is given to elderly applicants. “Now I am so ashamed to carry MyPR around. I would rather use my driving licence for identification purposes. But despite being dubbed as a non-citizen of Malaysia, I went and practised my rights and voted at Peak Nam Thong Kindergarten during the March 8 general election. I used my driving licence for identification, and I was allowed to vote. She was even asked to re-apply her citizenship, and would be given an answer within six months. But it has been almost a year now, and still there has been no news on her application. “It saddens me as my children told me that I am no longer a Malaysian citizen, and worse, I am stateless. My life has turned upside down,” she said, explaining that she was supposed to follow her church group to Indonesia next month and go for holidays with her family to China some time this year, but sadly, had to let it go since her passport could not be renewed. “Initially, the Immigration Department officer assured me that I could still renew my passport, but later told me that my data was no longer available in the system... so they cancelled my passport. “I just wonder how come this could have happened. My children had been helping me to fight for my rights at many departments and an officer with NRD told them that when an elderly person applies for the MyKad, he or she would be given the MyPR instead. “Is this a new policy? How come we never heard about it before?” she asked, adding that they have exhausted every effort to find a solution to the matter. The issue was then brought to Moyog Assemblyman Donald Mojuntin’s attention, who is also United Pasok Momogun Kadazan Dusun Murut Organisation(Upko) Citizenship and Security Bureau Chairman, yesterday. “This is a serious matter where an elderly woman, who was born and lived her life in Sabah, was stripped off her citizenship. I will bring the matter up to NRD Director while Party President, Tan Sri Bernard V Dompok, who is also the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, would highlight it to the Home Minister, Datuk Syed Hamid Albar, as soon as possible. “Sabahans have long been complaining about the presence of illegal immigrants and foreigners with identification cards, but a Malaysian citizen is stripped off her citizenship. If her citizenship is in doubt, then her eight children may also be affected in the future. She has a native title land, can you see the repercussions? “No explanation is satisfactory to us now. If there is a policy change, it should be publicized, not inform the victim when they are already in trouble... in some ways, yes it shows efficiency in the Government departments and agencies, but somehow, it also shows the lack of communication between NRD and EC,” he said. Mojuntin stressed that what ever happened to Yong could happen to anyone else. “We want to put a stop to this… we must do it now before it is too late,” he stressed.

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