KOTA KINABALU: The state government will continue to assist undocumented villagers located in far-flung rural areas in getting birth certificates and MyKad through a special programme, assured Sabah Special Tasks Minister Teo Chee Kang.
Teo said the Outreach Programme implemented by the National Registration Department (NRD) via its special mobile unit team was specifically designed to help register births among rural villagers.
"NRD is always careful when it comes to issuing birth certificates, especially on matters pertaining to late birth registration.
"The NRD is doing its best to resolve this matter and the team has been going to far-flung villages to help with birth registration and MyKad application."
Teo said this in his winding-up speech to address the issue raised by Dr Edwin Bosi (DAP-Kepayan), who also urged the government to study the legitimacy of 40,000 late identification and birth certificate applicants in Sabah's east coast.
On this, Teo said citizenship applications for 58 permanent resident card holders have been processed and 11 applicants have been approved.
"The remaining applications are pending approval from the Home Ministry. The citizenship status is the special right of the Malaysian government and not the right of the permanent resident holders.
"They can only apply (for citizenship) if they are eligible."
On a separate matter, Teo said 70 communal grants have been issued with 47,195.81 hectares of land, involving 10,260 beneficiaries from 212 villages across 12 different districts.
"These numbers are evidence that the state government is protecting the rights of Sabah natives in terms of land ownership," he said.