Kids hit by parents’ IC woes

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/4/19/nation/13994183&sec=nation

Wednesday April 19, 2006

Kids hit by parents IC woes

By STEPHEN THEN

stephenthen@thestar.com.my

MIRI: It is a classic case of innocent children suffering because of the mistakes and oversight of their parents.

Native children in the interior of Sarawak whose parents do not have identity cards are now bearing the full brunt of their parents failure to obtain this vital document.

Those who have started schooling face numerous problems in school because of this.

They have managed to get into government primary schools but have been unable to enjoy privileges like food aid, textbook loan schemes, aid for uniforms and other accessories, and boarding facilities.

Penghulu Paul Kallang, a chieftain from the Kayan community in Long San in the remote interior of Miri Division, said these children are paying for their parents IC woes.

There are still many native folk in many parts of the interior who are now in their 30s and 40s but still have no ICs. Their application for ICs have been repeatedly rejected by the National Registration Department for a variety of reasons.

The children of these IC-less natives are face a lot of problems when they want to enter government schools.

The kids who manage to get a place in government primary schools find that they cannot benefit from any assistance schemes in the school, because they do not qualify, he said.

Kallang said the NRD, even though it has formed mobile units to help register IC-less folks in the interior, continued to reject the applications of those who could not provide sufficient documentary proof that they were born in Sarawak.

State Assemblyman for Telang Usan Lihan Jok admitted that the IC woes are now passed on to the next generation.

The IC problems faced by parents are passed on to the children and maybe even their grandchildren, he said.

We are not blaming the NRD. We understand it needs to be very careful when issuing ICs, but many of these rural folk just do not have the documents needed to prove their birthplace .

There has to be some way out for them or else this problem will never end. The children are suffering.

This is one of the priority issues his party (Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu) is trying to deal with, he said.