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KUCHING, February 3 — A special mobile task force will be formed to register stateless Sarawakian Chinese with the aim of granting them Malaysian citizenship, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
He said the state National Registration Department will gather information on the stateless Sarawakian Chinese and make the necessary recommendations on those who meet the criteria to be citizens.
“We need to address this long outstanding problem of the stateless Chinese, who are born in Sarawak, once and for all,” he said at the Chinese New Year celebration with the Chinese community here.
“They are qualified to be Malaysian citizens under the Federal Constitution, if they are born and brought up in the state,” Ahmad Zahid, who is also the home minister, said when responding to a call from Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, earlier.
He gave his commitment as home minister to address the matter without delay, and urged the Chinese community to help the NRD on the issue.
Dr Sim, who is also the Sarawak local government minister, earlier asked the deputy prime minister to intercede in the problem, after saying it affected many in the rural areas.
Dr Sim did not state how many were involved, stressing only those affected have families.
Others present at the function were Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing, Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Chinese community leaders.