KUCHING: The Home Ministry is to review the standard operating procedure (SOP) with regard to applications for citizenship to ensure that every application is considered more carefully, fairly and in a speedy manner.
Its Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the new SOP will have clearer guidelines in handling and considering applications for citizenship, particularly under Article 15A.
Article 15A is on citizenship by registration (wives and children of citizens).
He said the move is to ensure that every decision made took into account the welfare of the children applying for citizenship status and involved a shortened period, from three years to one.
“I fully understand the difficulty faced by those who have to be without citizenship status for a long time,” he said at the handing over of letters of approval of Malaysian citizenship to 31 people at the Kuching Urban Transformation Centre (UTC), here, today.
The minister said the handing over of the citizenship papers is part of a pledge in the election manifesto of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition to address the citizenship problems of people in the country.
Muhyiddin stressed that there is no “back-door” approval of citizenship applications as claimed by certain quarters.
“In deciding whether to approve or disapprove an application, I am assisted by officers who are professional in discharging their duties, and every application and the supporting documents will be carefully scrutinised,” he said.
He also said that the Home Ministry and the National Registration Department (NRD) had always implemented various initiatives to address issues pertaining to identity and citizenship, especially in Sarawak.
These include continuous improvement of service delivery through the implementation of the outreach programme as well as the mobile unit and mobile bus unit services in this state, he said.
Muhyiddin said these initiatives are implemented to ensure that every eligible application is received as well as to provide awareness and understanding to the applicants through the advisory service on citizenship applications.
“In this regard, I look forward to PH MPs and state assemblymen in Sarawak working together with the Sarawak NRD in facilitating people in the state with their citizenship applications,” he said.
Muhyiddin later went on a walkabout at the Kuching UTC to see for himself the operations at the NRD and Immigration Department counters. -- Bernama