KUCHING, July 31 — Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) elected representatives will now have direct access to the office of the Home Minister to monitor and follow-up on citizenship application cases, Sarawak PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen said today.
He said this follows the disbanding of the Sarawak Special Committee on Citizenship (SCC).
This alternative and more intense personal follow-up means of handling the citizenship applications has also proven to be more effective in producing results, he said in a statement.
Chong, who is Federal Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, said 31 cases were approved within two to three months and more approvals would be forthcoming soon.
“This is also why I view that the SCC headed by Sarawak Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah was ineffective in resolving the long outstanding citizenship application issue faced by so many genuine Sarawakians,” he said.
He said that since 2016, the SCC received 723 applications for citizenship but, as at May 2019, three years after the formation of the SCC, only 123 applications have been approved and, at that rate, it would take SCC another 15 years to get the approvals for all the applicants in hand.
On Monday, during a working visit here, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said his ministry would continue to give priority to citizenship issues, including state-level cases, under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution.
He said the ministry had also formed a special task force at the federal level to solve citizenship issues, including from Sarawak and, as such, the federal government feels that there is no need to continue with the state-level committee on the issue.
On July 22, Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim sent a letter to Fatimah stating the decision to discontinue the committee and that all cases in Sarawak must be referred to or re-submitted to the ministry for coordination purposes. — Bernama