Special task force to help stateless pupils in Sarawak: Fatimah


MIRI: Stateless pupils in Sarawak now have the opportunity to finally get their own identification document under the task force outreach programme in the state starting next week.

Sarawak Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said for the first time ever, the task force had enhanced their outreach programme by going direct to the schools to receive and approve application for identification documents by stateless pupils.

"The first school under the outreach programme will be SK Batu Balai, Sebauh Bintulu with a total 45 pupil involved to be held next week," she told Bernama and RTM here today.

Earlier she attended a dialogue session with parents and teachers of St. Joseph Secondary School here.

For the record, stateless individuals in the state are those without birth certificate issued by National Registration Department (NRD).

The special task force was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Sept 15, 2015 and headed by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Joseph Entulu with a deadline to settle the problem by Dec 31 this year.

Fatimah said SK Batu Balai headmaster had requested the programme to be conducted there and the task force agreed to do it since the number of stateless pupils at the school was quite substantial.

"The four-day reach programme at Sebauh will be jointly conducted by the State Education Department and NRD," she said, adding that more schools were identified under a similar programme this year as district education Offices in Sarawak had submitted the number of stateless pupils to the task force for further action.

She said the application procedure would be simple as head of communities such as "Ketua Kaum" and "Penghulu" will be present at the location to verify the applications by the pupils.

"They (head of communities) need to declare with statutory declaration that the applicant was born and reside in their areas to enable the application to be approved on the spot," she added. - BERNAMA