The cases were handed over by the Bureau chief, Donald Mojuntin, during a courtesy call on the NRD Sabah Director, Haji Abdul Jaffear Henry, at the Federal Administrative Complex here.
Apart from discussing matters directly pertaining to citizenship, other related issues were raised like the issue of the Sabah Native Certificate and “Surat Berian” Wedding Status which falls under the State Native Court.
The use of the terms “Native” and “Sino-Native” in national identification documents were also queried as Upko is of the opinion that “Native” is not a specific race but just a categorical or a generic term used to describe a group of indigenous people.
“Furthermore the usage of the term is not legally accepted by the State of Sabah as it has not gone through the necessary stages to make it so. The matter should first be vetted by the State Attorney General’s office.
Finally it will have to pass through the State Assembly. Then and only then can it be accepted as a legal term that can be used in documents as important as our personal identifications. Otherwise it will and does create, for instance, NT land inheritance problems,” he said.
Mojuntin who is also Assistant Finance Minister and Moyog State Assemblyman and his delegation was also briefed by Jaffear on the department’s vision, mission, operation, past and up-coming programmes.
“As one of the main objectives of the Bureau is to ensure only genuine Sabahans or those legally qualified for it are bestowed citizenship, it is only appropriate to build and foster a strong and practical working relationship with the NRD,” he said.
He added that the visit was also auspicious as it comes right after the Prime Minister’s announcement of his 11 people-friendly measures which include improvements to the process of registering births in Sabah and Sarawak, on the occasion of his 100th day in office.
Also present were Upko Vice President, Senator Datuk Maijol Mahap, Upko Secretary Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau as well as Upko wing leaders Arthur Sen and Datin Dr Jainna Sintian. Among the Bureau members present were NGO activist Datuk Patrick Sindu and Persatuan Peranakan Ranau Chairman, Aldem Chia.
According to Mojuntin, the bureau had been receiving numerous grievances and complaints related to citizenship.
“This issue of citizenship, especially in Sabah, is one of the few fundamental problems that need to be sorted out for the Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia concept to be achieved, he said.
“We must remember that most of these relevant applicants have family members who are citizens. If their respective problem is not dealt with efficiently, it will not only disillusion the applicants themselves but their family members and friends will also lose confidence in the government’s delivery system and perhaps, the integrity of the government. It would be like a negative pyramid effect.”
Jaffear commended the effort of the Upko Bureau and welcomed any helping hand to assist the NRD, especially from elected representatives whether State or Parliament.