Lawyers for Liberty advisor N Surendran has slammed the government for claiming that there are merely 3,853 stateless ethnic Indians based on the number of applications received.
He said this is irresponsible and illogical, as there are thousands more who had their applications rejected multiple times, or had not submitted their applications, or have given up trying.
“For those thousands that have not put in applications, lack of education, ignorance and an inflexible bureaucracy at the JPN offices are among the main causes.
“The deputy (home) minister (Mohd Azis Jamman) simply dismisses the figure of 300,000 stateless Indians which I had first suggested in 2012. That figure was a credible estimate based upon the feedback from NGOs, activists, and also population studies.
“Instead of verifying the estimate by going to the ground, the ministry is taking the easy way out by dismissing it out of hand,” he said in a statement today.
He urged the Home Ministry to retract the statement.
Earlier today, the deputy home minister told the Dewan Negara that Pakatan Harapan politicians’ claim that there were 300,000 stateless Indians in the country was inaccurate.
He said that as of May, the ministry had only received 3,853 applications for identification documents, of which 1,638 have been resolved while the rest were being processed.
Surendran said this approach to establishing the number of stateless Indians in the country was irresponsible since there is no government census to establish the actual figure.
“The paltry figure of 3,853 also goes against the kind of numbers of stateless persons that NGOs, civil society and social and political activists have come across all over the country in grappling with the problem of statelessness over the years.
“We call upon the Home Ministry to retract the completely baseless claim of only 3853 stateless Indians and take immediate steps to identify and issue blue ICs to all qualified stateless persons,” he said.