MIRI, Jan 27 — Tabed Raru found himself lost for words when he finally held his MyKad in his hands.
The former border scout received his proof of citizenship from the National Registration Department (JPN) in Lawas yesterday.
Although he was among the former border scouts who risked their lives to defend the then new nation of Malaysia during the confrontation with Indonesia and communist insurgency, his journey to be recognised as a Malaysian citizen would take over two decades.
Tabed, who will turn 79 this year, said he never believed his final wish would come true.
“I am lost beyond words, especially because I have been waiting for so many years for the government to approve my citizenship application.
“It has indeed been a very long and painful journey, not only for me but also my family who are denied access to better health services and assistance from the government because of my status,” he told The Borneo Post in a telephone interview.
He thanked the Home Ministry and Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian, who has been assisting with his application since 2010.
Tabed’s plight was highlighted in the news last June, after he claimed to have been denied access to an ambulance transfer from Lawas Hospital to Limbang Hospital due to his citizenship status.
He was unable to receive medical attention for his kidney problems because his family could not afford to pay for him to fly to Miri.
When contacted, Baru said he was delighted Tabed’s application had been approved.
He called for the Home Ministry to also approve the applications of four other former border scouts, who also deserve to be granted Malaysian citizenship.
“I hope the application of the other former border scouts can be expedited when I see no reason for their delay anymore.
“Solid proof of their eligibility to be considered as citizens is plain and obvious,” he stressed.
Baru called on JPN Lawas to follow-up their applications with JPN Putrajaya and to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
The others former border scouts are Baranabas Palong@Branabas, Joseph Pengiran, Kedimus Liling, and Basar Arun, who have only been granted permanent resident status despite their service to Malaysia.