5,000 hope to prove they are Malaysians

By : Neville Spykerman (NST)
KLANG: A lorry driver queued up with his 28-year-old cousin for seven hours yesterday to help the latter get a birth certificate.
Gurunathan was just one of the more than 5,000 “stateless” Malaysians who overwhelmed a registration exercise at the Klang Municipal Council building yesterday.
They came from all over the country. These are people who have spent their lives in a bureaucratic limbo because they have no birth certificates and no identity cards.
Makeshift counters had been set up in Dewan Datuk Hamzah and manned by 100 volunteers from the Barisan Nasional Volunteer Secretariat and Klang MIC
Two officers from the National Registration Department (NRD) also assisted the volunteers. They compiled the names of those seeking assistance. Files on each individual, with copies of the documents he possessed, will be forwarded to the NRD.
“The officers said they needed a letter from the clinic where he was born and photographs to verify that he was born in Malaysia.”
G. Vilas rushed from Malacca when she heard about the registration. She is hoping to obtain a birth certificate.
“I have never been to school and I have no job because I have no documents,” said the 28-year-old.
Klang MIC division chief Alex Thiagarasan said the organisers were overwhelmed by the response.
“We prepared only 5,000 forms, which ran out by 11am. We are printing more,” he said, adding that many of those seeking help also have children without birth certificates.
“We want to ensure that no child is deprived of an education because of this.”
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo said during a visit to the hall that the initiative came about after a discussion with the Internal Security Ministry, which agreed to set up a task force to help “stateless” Malaysians.