An appeal to PMX to retain Saifuddin Nasution Ismail in his current post

Letter to editor

FOR the past 10 months of monitoring Home Minister Datuk Seri Nasution Ismail, my impression of him has changed.

From the several conversations I have had with former English daily editor Ruby Ravin (not her real name), I have seen how much this minister has put his efforts to solve the problem of statelessness in the country.

Tell me which minister has set a KPI (key performance indicator) – and more importantly, provided regular reports – in solving the accumulated number of stateless cases? Nil.

In the words of Ruby, Saifuddin has “solved more cases than four other past home ministers put together” since she started getting involved with five stateless kids belonging to a local Chinese father in her community. The whole community in her housing estate take care of these young children with Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh also assisting with these cases.

Allow me to reproduce what Ruby wrote to me:

While I can understand that I should not be lobbying for a minister, I am lobbying for someone who has a heart for the stateless people.

The post is too powerful that everyone is craving for it but unless you put someone with a Madani heart to solve the issues of the people, the stateless people will remain stateless unless they sneak out into another country that would grant them citizenship. For your information, a few of them have committed suicide on reaching the age of 21.

And Saifuddin is this one minister who has so far brought a smile to many people – not only the ones who received their citizenship in a country where Jus Soli had been replaced by Jus Sanguinis in the Federal Constitution since that black Wednesday Jan 31, 1962 and because of that, but many thousands of people have also become stateless.

I wish to remind you, our dear PMX, that in 2017, you slammed the government over stateless children issue and this is in the PH election manifesto. That is the reason why majority of us voted for PH although we do not have stateless kids ourselves.

Majority of the people pity these stateless people because they are not immigrants from somewhere else – and nowhere will they find citizenship anywhere else in the world – since they cannot even apply for a passport not own a bank account.

Some of them are good students but to enter into the local universities, they face a big hurdle; even when they apply for jobs, they have difficulties to be gainfully employed. Without the so-called “blue identity card”, how would the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) or Employee Provident Fund (EPF) open an account for these stateless people?

The stateless people born in this country has made Malaysia a laughing stock to the rest of the world. Reports have been generated, including this one by DHRAA and Taylor’s University.

Saifuddin’s actions as the Home Minister are, therefore, befitting for the Madani government that is based on keMampanan (Sustainability), Daya cipta (Innovation), kesejAhteraan (Prosperity), hormAt (Respect), keyakiNan (Trust) and Ihsan (Compassion).

While it may be true that Saifuddin may have a bigger role elsewhere, the moment he leaves the Home Ministry, you may not be able to find anyone as Madani as he is.

And many Indians will break Nelson Mandela’s jail record of 27 years by being stateless for half a century in a country they cannot call their own. Tell me, what do we want them to do without a proper citizenship paper to allow them to get on in life like everyone else? – Oct 3, 2023

Stephen Ng
Kuala Lumpur

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

Main pic credit: Berita Harian

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