KOTA KINABALU, Nov 4, 2014:
Foreign children born in Sabah will not be recognised as Malaysian citizens despite having been issued with birth certificates.
Sabah National Registration Department director Ismail Ahmad said the certificates were accorded for “record and monitoring purposes” only, and not meant to absorb them as citizens in the future.
“Foreign children are issued red-coloured birth certificates while locals are issued with green ones for easy identification.
“Having a red-coloured birth certificate is not a free pass for them to obtain MyKad and be recognised as a citizen,” he told a press a press conference here today.
The coloured birth certificate system was implemented under the government’s National Key Result Area (NKRA) initiative in 2010 to overcome stateless children issue.
Prior to 2010, the only indication for a birth certificate belonging to a foreigner was the phrase “Daftar Orang Asing” stamped on the document.
Ismail said Sabah inland foreigners were divided into eight categories namely Permanent Resident, Temporary Resident, Filipino Refugees (IMM13 holders), Indonesian Chinese Surrender Illegal Immigrant (IMM13), Kad Burung (or Sijil Burung-Burung issued by the Sabah Chief Minister’s Department), Census Certificate issued by Federal Special Task Force, Palaau’ (Sabahan sea gypsies) and non-citizen children with birth certificates.
“In Sabah, the accordance of birth certificates are regulated by the Birth and Death Registration Ordinance 1951 (Sabah Cap123) where all births must be registered, regardless of the child’s status.
“Our law may differ from that in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, as they have different sets of laws.
“A birth must be registered with the NRD within 14 days. After the two week period expires, parents will have to take their child for late registration, which can be tedious as they will have to go through legal procedures, including getting authorisation from the Magistrate’s Court,” he said.
As for the status of a child, it was very much determined by his or her mother’s nationality.
“In the case of single mothers, if she is a local, her child will also be categorised as a local, although the father is a non-citizen.
“If a non-citizen woman bears a child with a local man outside an official marriage, the child is considered a foreigner.
Last week, local leaders slammed Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s proposal to issue birth certificates to stateless children in Sabah.
Zahid made the proposal to allow stateless children to attend school, stressing that it was done on “humanitarian ground”.
“I must stress here that we have been issuing birth certificates to children of foreigners.
“There are 90,000 IMM13 holders statewide and we must have a system to record them.
“In addition, we also organise reaching out programmes to issue birth certificates to genuine Sabahans who live in far flung areas in the state,” he said, adding at least 30,000 documents were issued under the exercise since it was first implemented in the year 2000.