Speech (Part 2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the ‘Party Reform’ meeting of the Negri Sembilan DAP State Committee held in Seremban on Tuesday, 24th March, 1992 at 8 pm.
Call on Cabinet to issue a directive that all blue identity card holders will be issued with new identity cards without threat of being turned into red identity card holders because of spelling or clerical errors in old documents.
The application for the new identity cards has turned into a nightmare for many Malaysians, who are threatened with the loss of their citizenship status because of some spelling or clerical errors in some old documents which go back many decades or which belong to their parents.
Apart from the indifference, rudeness, incompetence and great inconveniences caused to those applying for the new identity cards, the threat of having a blue identity card turned into a red identity card in the process is the greatest reason why the National Registration Department has become the most unpopular government department in a few short months.
DAP is shocked that the MCA and Gerakan Ministers have been indifferent not only to the great inconvenience caused to the 15 million Malaysians who have to change their identity cards to the new format, but even more serious, the deprivation of their citizenship status to that of non-citizen just because of a spelling or clerical error in some old documents.
DAP calls on the Cabinet to take a serious view of this matter and issue a directive to the National Registration Department that all blue identity card holders will be issued with the new identity card and that no one would be threatened with the loss of citisenship status and converted into red identity-card holder because of spelling or clerical errors in old documents, whether birth certificate, parent’s citizenship papers, etc.
DAP calls on all who have their blue identity cards withdrawn and threatened with loss of their citizenship status because of spoiling errors to contact DAP.
It is most unfair to change the entire citizenship status of Malaysians 35 years after Merdeka, just because
of some spelling or clerical mistakes in old documents and with a stroke of the pen, deprive a citizen of his citizenship status.
The Cabinet should go by the rule that not a single blue identity card holder should be deprived of his citizenship in the present exercise to change to new identity cards.
For the purposes of the issue of the new identity cards, the blue identity cards should be final and conclusive proof that the holder is a citizen unless the government can prove otherwise. This is because the blue identity card holder had already proved his citizenship credentials to the National Registration Department before, as otherwise he would not be issued with a blue identity card, and he should not be required to prove that he is a citizen again and again.
DAP calls on all those who have been threatened with loss of their citizenship or had in fact been turned into a non-citizen as a result of trying to change for the new identity card to contact the DAP to furnish us with all the particulars, for we believe that this is not what a caring and enlightened government should do.
A government must be confident and trustful of its own citizens and not question his citizenship credentials again and again, as happened in 1969 and 1970.
It is just unacceptable and intolerable that a Malaysian citizen in his fifties and sixties is threatened
that his blue identi¬ty-card will be withdrawn because he has difficulty in correcting certain technical
or clerical errors in some old documents, or could not now prove certain particulars 35 years after Merdeka!
The process whereby a citizen must prove again and again his citizenship status is not one which is contributive to national unity or even vision 2020 and must be stopped altogether.