BENTONG: Sitting outside his wooden house at Taman Bukit Dinding in Karak near here, K. Ramachandran slowly flipped through several documents which he kept in plastic covers.
Occasionally, the 51-year-old peered towards his adopted son, R Ambalagan, who was busy completing his school homework inside their cramped unit which did not have a ceiling fan and only relied for cool breeze from a stand fan.
There was a tinge of sadness in his voice when he said that his only concern now was that if Ambalagan, his 17-year-old son, will be able to sit for his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) in November and have an opportunity to further his tertiary education.
The Form Five student faces an uncertain future after the National Registration Department (NRD) rejected his MyKad application on three occasions without any valid reason.
Ramachandran, who works as rubber tapper, said he has been applying the blue MyKad for his son since 2013 and has made several trips to the district NRD office, attended interviews to obtain the MyKad, went to the Home Ministry in Putrajaya and submitted forms during citizenship registering exercise but the applications ended up rejected.
“What surprise me is that despite all the appeal letters and supporting documents (showing the documents on his hand), we still receive a letter saying the application “ditolak“ (rejected) and no one knows the reason. He has a Malaysian birth certificate but yet to obtain a MyKad. “Since his mother passed away in 2007, Ambalagan has been staying with me in Karak. My wife (K.Rajammal) and me adopted him in 2015 after some people told us that the move (adopting) will enable him to receive the MyKad,” he said when met today.
Ramachandran said Ambalagan’s biological father and two siblings who now live elsewhere have the MyKad while his mother who passed away due to illness was also a Malaysian citizen.
He said Ambalagan is facing various difficulties for not having a MyKad which resulted in his being treated often as a foreigner or non-citizen.
“Since he started secondary school, I have to pay RM240 annually and he is not entitled for any assistance including the Food Supplement Programme. Last year, he only started school in February as I could not afford to pay his fees after my income was affected due to the rainy season.
“Ambalagan did well in his Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and Form Three Assessment (PT3) and even received awards. My son has a bright future and I want to ensure he lives a better life,” he said, adding that Ambalagan did not face many problems in primary school as he had a birth certificate.
Meanwhile, Ambalagan, who aspires to become a policeman, said he would spend extra hours after school to attend tuition classes and would do a revision with his classmates.
The youngest of three siblings, Ambalagan said he was praying hard to sit for SPM along with his friends and he believed that God will show him a path to fulfil his dreams.
Meanwhile, Sabai assemblyman D Kamache said she hoped the government, which has introduced various measures to address the stateless issues, will find a solution so Ambalagan will be able to sit for his exam and live his dreams.
An NRD spokesman said Ambalagan can file an appeal along with all the supporting documents at the nearest NRD office. However, the decision still lies in the hands of the Home Ministry. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd