By Stephen Ng
Malaysia has only two options to choose from: either kick out all the stateless people from the country OR to give them a new lease of life and allow them to contribute towards the economic development of the country.
Some of them have parents who may come from Thailand, Indonesia or the Philippines, but growing up in Malaysia all their lives, their parents’ motherland is just as alien to them as an earthling landing on Mars.
Sabahans often begrudge the infiltration of Filipinos into their territory, but can anyone tell me who exactly is to blame if our borders are so porous to both neighbouring countries.
We are to blame
Is it because of corruption? If yes, what has the Government done all these years to arrest the problem?
Didn’t we have the Royal Commission of Inquiry and most of us know about Project IC, but no one has been criminalized for it, why?
After the RCI, people are just lukewarm and keeping quiet, instead of suggesting that the government should do anything about it.
Even if a few people pick up their pens to speak, would the voice be loud enough for the government to take the suggestions seriously?
Malaysians have themselves to blame for the problem of statelessness either through human trafficking or our porous borders.
Think About Their Future
Some young people are less fortunate as their parents did not have the means to obtain citizenship, either through the legal or illegal channels.
Some of these children born in the country are raised here their entire lives. Without citizenship, what will become of them? Without an education, will they instead turn into thugs?
Please think of the future of these young people who will still be living in our midst. Think of them as your own children, if some day you have to flee the country with your children.
We are all sons and daughters of Adam, from the three main stocks of the human race. Whether “Caucasoid,” “Negroid,” or “Mongoloid,” our blood types are basically A, B, AB and O groups. It is red, not green or yellow.
Therefore, I appeal to all Malaysians, especially the Unity Government now under the leadership of Anwar Ibrahim, to just give stateless people, especially the younger generation their blue Identity Cards and allow them to have a future and contribute towards the development of the country’s economic growth.
A word to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Azalina Othman Said: the stateless issue does not only affect children who were born overseas to Malaysian mothers, but also young and old alike born and raised in Malaysia without citizenship.
All Members of Parliament should start looking at the Hansard dated 30 January 1962, and study how this amendment to the Federal Constitution has brought so much pain to the stateless people.
It is time to embrace the plurality of our social fabrics and build a rainbow nation like South Africa after the dismantling of the apartheid regime. We are already three decades behind the nation which Nelson Mandela rebuilt based on reconciliation.
As fellow Malaysians, we can capitalize on each other’s strength to compete with the rest of the world and become the next Malaysian Tiger, altered from its original moniker after a Sarawakian brother told me why Sarawakians feel they are left out in this country they are part of.