Malaysiakini Letter

Failed MyDaftar programme must be probed by Home Ministry

Kasthuri Patto  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | After its first introduction in 2011, MyDaftar has proven that it is nothing but a disaster, as only a small number of senior citizens and spouses who have been on the waiting list for their citizenship for decades had finally received their blue MyKads.

Last year, a 74 year old Lai Len @ Lye Choi Lin received her MyKad after waiting 60 years, having paid exorbitant fees for a non-citizen when she sought treatment in government hospitals and denied every right as a Malaysian citizen, including voting rights.

Her story is not an isolated one as every single Malaysian parliamentarian has seen the dilemma faced by senior citizens who very sadly show you their pemastautin tetap red identity card, despite having being born in estates and villages in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah or Sarawak, their disappointed voices heavy with hopelessness after going through countless objections from the National Registration Department.

What is even more sickening is that the wife of Sarawak governor Abdul Taib Mahmud, Ragad Waleed Alkurdi 's citizenship was approved by the then-BN government in record time of six years or so and that allowed her to vote, not once but twice in Malaysian elections.

This year, in February, British citizen Daniel Tyler who had converted to Islam in 2013, married a Malaysian woman in Terengganu in 2017 and was offered a permanent resident status having arrived in Terengganu as a tourist in 2009.

The then-BN government would have awarded him with a citizenship in no time while they drag their feet on others who have been waiting for so long.

Tens of thousands of men and women who had been born in Malaysia have been put on a decades-old waiting list by the NRD under the Home Ministry to the point of some who had passed away still holding on to their red identity cards.

Many of them, mainly old Indian men and women whom I have personally met, have said they have given up applying for a Malaysian citizenship after having walked up and down the stairs at Putrajaya so many times.

The seven-year old MyDaftar campaign mooted by the National Registration Department in 2011 and rebranded as Mega MyDafter by MIC president Dr S Subramaniam in 2016, is nothing but a disaster and a failure in aiding and assisting those who wish to be a citizens of the country where they were born, had worked, married and raised their families in.

The Pakatan Harapan government must now carry out a task that was virtually impossible by the then-BN government to award citizenship to those who were born in Malaysia and who have been waiting for decades, including spouses who have been waiting for decades as well so that they can claim this ownership of their tanahair, Malaysia.

A herculean task but not an impossible one by the Harapan leadership that will be remembered, cherished and appreciated by all those who have been dreaming and waiting to be called Malaysians.

KASTHURI PATTO is MP for Batu Kawan and Wanita DAP publicity secretary.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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