NRD to access police records in citizenship process, deputy home minister says

A man filling up an application form before going to the National Registration Department. — Picture by Choo Choy May
A man filling up an application form before going to the National Registration Department. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 ― The Home Ministry is coming up with an information sharing system allowing all relevant agencies under its purview to have access to criminal records in a move aimed at speeding up the citizenship application process.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman told the Dewan Rakyat today that the reason citizenship application approval process has been slow is because the police, who are in charge of the criminal records, handle each application manually.

“The reason the approval process is so slow is because we send each document to other agencies like the police manually. There's no specific system under the Home Ministry to identify if these applicants have a criminal record.

“In line with the minister's aspirations, I have been tasked to chair a committee involving all of this ministry's agencies to study and see how information can be shared within this ministry.

“Once this system is introduced, the police will enter all data needed by other agencies such as the National Registration Department (NRD) if it involves an individual's criminal records. NRD can access this system which will be introduced,” said Azis, replying a question by Sandakan MP Datuk Wong Tien Fatt.

The Sepanggar MP also pointed out that some citizenship applicants do not furnished the relevant supporting documents while others mistakenly thought the approval letters conferred citizenship status and did not turn up for the oath taking ceremony.

Wong had earlier asked why it took the ministry so long to grant citizenship, pointing out that some applicants wait decades.

In a supplementary question, Maran MP Datuk Seri Ismail Abdul Muttalib from Barisan Nasional asked how many illegal immigrants were granted permanent residency status which later translated into citizenship.

“Only those who have entered the country legally can obtain permanent residency status. Those caught entering the country via illegal means will be arrested and sent home. They cannot apply for citizenship status.

“From 2008 to September 30, 2018 NRD has recorded 57,191 individuals who have permanent residency Malaysian citizenship,” Azis told Ismail.

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