Previously declared stateless, Dayak girl a Malaysian once more

S4S civil society movement leader Peter John Jaban Jaban (pic) had led a group of human rights advocates to help Rika and six other “stateless” people apply for their MyKads. — File pic
S4S civil society movement leader Peter John Jaban Jaban (pic) had led a group of human rights advocates to help Rika and six other “stateless” people apply for their MyKads. — File pic

KUCHING, Dec 23 — A 17-year-old Dayak girl, who was forced to stop schooling after the National Registration Department declared her as non-Malaysian after finding that her mother is Indonesian, today received her MyKad from the department.

“With that, her citizenship as a Malaysian is restored,” Sarawak For Sarawakians (S4S) civil society movement leader Peter John Jaban told reporters after Rika Herline anak Ji-in had received her MyKad from the NRD head office at Simpang Tiga here.

Jaban had led a group of human rights advocates from S4S and Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) to help Rika and six other “stateless” people apply for their MyKads after alleged difficulties with the NRD.

“She will be able to continue her study next year,” Jaban said, adding that the other six also received their MyKads from the department.

Rika, who was born in 1999, stopped attending her Form 4 classes last year after the NRD refused to issue her with the identity card when it learned her mother is an Indonesian national.

Her original birth certificate, which indicated that she was a Malaysian citizen, was replaced with a new one saying she was a non-Malaysian.

Like Rika, Jaban said the six — Roziana anak Akui, Heliana anak Akui, Emirozy anak Rosli, Shera anak Senga, Isabella anak Kuin and Ica anak Kuin — made repeated trips to the department to submit their applications and other supporting documents, but failed to get their identity cards approved.

Human rights lawyer Simon Siah, who was present, said the problem has always been with the administrative requirements put in place by various agencies to implement the existing laws.

“Basically, all these applicants were rejected because of paperwork, not because they were not genuine cases,” he said, adding the applicants were being consistently turned away with no explanation and no possible solution.

He said the seven cases were resolved with no changes to the existing legal framework.

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