KUCHING, April 26 — The late Lina Samuel, a cancer patient from Lawas, who made headlines after her MyKad was taken away, was not under the jurisdiction of the Special Committee for Citizenship under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution, said Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.
The Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Minister said Lina’s case was, in fact, still under the Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN).
“The late Lina’s case is still under KDN, meaning unless it is under Article 15A under the Special Committee of Citizenship, we will be directly involved. But this is not under Article 15A, it is more under Article 19 of the Federal Constitution,” she said when asked to comment on Lina’s case today.
Article 19 of the Federal Constitution means a person may acquire citizenship by naturalization. Naturalization is a legal process by which Malaysia citizenship is granted to a non-citizen upon fulfilling certain requirements, Fatimah explained.
Fatimah said she has enquired about Lina’s case from KDN and Malaysian Registration Department (JPN) on what actually happened when her MyKad was confiscated from her.
“An explanation has been given by JPN Sarawak about the matter and Lina was given a temporary document to enable her to receive treatment for her Stage 4 Colon cancer.
“There was something discovered by JPN at that time that caused Lina’s document to be taken from her. I think the matter is currently under investigation.
“Nevertheless, we hope it will be resolved soon,” she said.
It is also understood that Lina has two children aged between 30 to 40 years old, who are also stateless.
Fatimah also said that Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail will be coming to Sarawak soon, and among issues to be discussed will be Lina’s case.
“That’s what we are hoping for, when the minister is here, this problem will be discussed because it is not only affecting the late Lina but also her children.
“Our concern is, if under Article 15A, when the child has no documents and is categorised as stateless, they will face problems in going to school and their future, that is very sad,” she said.
On that note, Fatimah said through the assurance from Saifuddin, by June this year about 900 pending citizenship cases will be resolved.
Meanwhile, Fatimah also said the Special Committee for Citizenship is also asking KDN to give considerations to adopted children, especially those from welfare institutions.
“The problem is we do not know the whereabouts of their parents, and with that, relaxation can be given to them (for adoption) because there is no way we can find their parents.
“Special consideration needs to be given to the children under our care in the institution, so that it is easy for people to adopt them otherwise if they adopt a child, and the parents still have to apply for citizenship on behalf of the child.
“As much as possible, we do not want these children to grow up in welfare institutions. It is better for them to grow up in a family and be given love like their own,” she said.
She also said the same flexibility could also be considered for adoption of non-welfare children.
“Their biological parents left them from birth and they are no longer here, but their children got adopted by locals. For these cases too, we ask that they also be given flexibility, for the welfare of these children,” she said. — Borneo Post