PUTRAJAYA, Dec 28 — The Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) is taking proactive measures to resolve the problems involving citizenship application particularly for children without any document in this country.
Its minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the standard operating procedure (SOP) concerning the matter had been improved without the applicant having to wait too long as was the case previously.
He said the improvement in the SOP concerning the granting of citizenship, particularly under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution saw the approval process especially involving adopted children or the adoption process, speeded up to less than one year.
“In the past, there were complaints that the processing period took up to 10 years, and for this we will use the new SOP to resolve the issue.
“If the child that was born remained without valid document, this would pose numerous problems. This is what we will try to resolve,” he said in an interview with Bernama.
For application under Article 15A, the new SOP outlined several measures in ensuring that every application for citizenship could be considered in a more meticulous, fair and speedy manner, for example a clearer guideline in handling and considering the application.
Among others, the updated SOP which went through a process of study since April contained notification mechanism for all applicants regarding the reason for the rejection of the citizenship application and the application processing period, which was previously not informed.
Thus, beginning next year, citizenship application received for individuals below 21 years would undergo a more efficient process that is three months 14 days at the National Registration Department (NRD) and eight months at the Home Ministry (KDN).
Muhyiddin said that the new SOP that he had approved would now enable the NRD and Home Ministry to carry out their tasks in a more transparent manner and speed up every process based on fairness, compared to instances where the applicant had to wait up to 10 years.
For the record, during a five-year period between 2013 until 2018, the NRD recorded citizenship applications totalling 111,142 with 26,222 applications being rejected while 54,222 were still in the process where 27,835 were applications under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution relating to children without citizenship.
Muhyiddin said in order to ensure the issue was resolved as contained in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto, particularly concerning children without documents, the KDN had formed a special task force which was entrusted with the responsibility of speeding up and resolving all matters concerning citizenship application.
He said the special task force led by the KDN Deputy Secretary-General was expected to be able to resolve a major portion of the issues by the end of this year or early next year.
He added that more than 27,000 cases that were delayed could be handled and resolved by the special task force.
“Do not misunderstand, it is to facilitate foreigners to obtain citizenship because if the applicants and the applications were eligible in terms of the National Constitution such as cases on adopted children, they should not be delayed to the extent of taking more than five years,” he said. — Bernama