KUCHING, July 24 — A state-federal government Special Committee has been formed to speed up the process of addressing and solving stateless issues in Sarawak, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

Through this committee, he said the state government would work closely with the Home Ministry by providing mobile services in rural and remote areas across the state.

“To speed up the process of helping stateless individuals acquire the identity document, the state government will provide logistics support if we need to go to the remote areas.

“We do not wait for the stateless individuals particularly those from remote areas to come to the National Registration Department (JPN); we will dispatch our mobile team and special taskforces to reach out to them,” he said at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Petra Jaya here today.

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He made these remarks before presenting citizenship approval letters to over 60 individuals, who were previously stateless.

It is understood that they are among the 946 applications already processed by the Home Ministry.

Saifuddin said his ministry will not stop at these 946 applications, as he is aware that there are more applicants out there waiting for similar approvals.

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He said the 946 applications were submitted to his ministry through Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah, and there were other applications which did not go through the state’s ministry.

“I’d like remind my ministry’s officers to uphold our commitment to help the stateless individuals, some of whom come directly to us or through various non-governmental organisations (NGOs); we must also attend to them to solve their problems,” he stressed.

Saifuddin said he is passionate about solving citizenship issues faced by the people.

“This is one of the issues that is close to my heart because once solved, I can see the direct impact which is the happy faces as their problems are solved.

“I must thank all those involved who have worked tirelessly to help the ministry reach out to the stateless individuals. This is a noble act and we could not be happier to see stateless persons obtain the identity document,” he said.

Saifuddin stressed Malaysia is a country with its own rules of laws, policies, and agencies that must be adhered to and respected by every citizen.

He said the government is equally responsible for ensuring that all laws and regulations are complied with and, as such, his ministry will speed up the process of approving citizenship letters but will not compromise on the rules and laws.

He noted that the state government, through Fatimah’s ministry, had a relatively complete database on stateless individuals in Sarawak.

He said this would not just facilitate the ministry in its approval process but enable the ministry to set targets to process citizenship applications submitted. — Borneo Post Online