by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, \in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 24th March, 1992:
How did the National Registration Department counter staff must be responsible for 80 per cent of the blame for the delays of 77,000 applications for new identity cards suddenly become the people must be responsible?
Last Friday’s papers of all languages carried the Kuching speech of the Director-General of the National Registration Depart¬ment, Kamaruddin Nordin, that about 80 per cent of the blame for the delay of 77,000 applications for new identity cards throughout the country lies with the staff of the National Registration Department.
He said most, mistakes were made in the early processing stage, especially at district level, in the peninsular.
He said: “This is not the mistake of the people (appli¬cants) but that of the counter staff who are not committed to the duties assigned to them. This tarnishes the image of the NRD”, he said.
“The majority of the mistakes involved fingerprints which were not clear. This hindered processing at the headquarters in Kuala Lumpur”.
Another reason given by Kamaruddin why applications were held up was that applicants did not submit their birth certificates with their application forms to the headquarters for processing.
There were also cases where application forms were not signed and stamped by the registration officer.
In others, photographs of the wrong size were submitted.
Some of the delays were caused because of particulars in the application forms and those in their birth certificates, citizen¬ship certificates and old identity cards were different.
Kamaruddin said there was a possibility that the errors were caused by temporary staff and those who had yet toundergo counter service training.
Two days later, however, the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Megat Junid Megat Ayob shocked the whole nation when he contradicted the Director-General by saying that it was the people, and not the
National Registration Department staff who are to blame for the delays.
As Kamaruddin’s speech in Kuching was reported by reporters of different newspapers, as well as Bernama, the question of Kamarud¬din being misquoted does not arise.
In fact, if Kamaruddin had been misreported, he would have clarified immediately the next day. The possibility does not exist at all as is very clear from the whole tenor of the speech, which elabo¬rated why the National Registration Department staff must be held responsible for 80 percent of the delays.
In fact, Saturday’s Utusan Malaysia reported the National Registration Department’s Public Relations Officer, Rossilawati Alias, will re-process the 77,000 applications for new identity cards, and she did not deny the press reports of Kamaruddin’s speech in Kuching that the Department counter staff was responsible for 80 per cent of these cases.
The Malaysian public have a right to know how in Sunday’s newspapers, Datuk Megat could turned the whole case upside down and blamed the applicants for 80 per cent of the delays in the 77,000 application for new identity cards and not the National Registration Department counter staff?
Is this denial a political denial? This incident shows how data and government statistics can easily be misused and manipulated to suit the government’s purpose.
National Registration Department has become the most unpopular government department in a matter
of a few months.
The National Registration Department has become the most unpopular government department in a matter of a few months, since the new government regulation requiring the 15 million Malaysian identity card holders to change to new identity cards.
People of all races and ages grumble, complain and curse at the treatment they received when they try to change the new identity cards – from sheer indifference of counter staff, to rudeness and all sorts of inconveniences, difficulties and frustrations.
Calls on the National Registration Department to sus¬pend its change of new identity card exercise until the MRD staff are more familiar with the new procedures. It is clear that the National Registration Department requires more time for its staff to be familiar with the new require¬ments and procedures for the new identity card.
For this reason, I call on the National Registration De¬partment to suspend its change of new identity card exercise for a year to give the NRD staff time to be familiar with the new proce¬dures.
For this year, NRD should issue the new identity cards to Malaysians who have come of age to apply for identity cards, or those who need identity cards to replace those which had been lost, de-stroyed or defaced.
The whole exercise to change the identity cards of 15 million Malaysians should not be resumed until the NRD staff through¬out the country have been trained to conduct it without many any errors whatsoever.