Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pay up RM210 or no MyKad

A grandmother waited patiently for 39 years for her MyKad but when she finally went to collect her card she was told she had to pay for it.
By Athi Sankar,
PERMATANG PAUH:  A 51-year- old grandmother had waited patiently for 39 years for her identity card.Earlier, this week she thought her long wait was over, when she received a call from the Penang office of National Registration Department (NRD)  to come and collect her MyKad.

But when M Menachi went to collect her MyKad on Wednesday , she was in for a rude a shock. She was told she had to pay RM210 ro collect her card.

“The person at the counter told me that I can’t collect my MyKad without paying,” said Menachi.
The poor kitchen helper did not have money and had to go home without her MyKad.

Menachi informed the human rights NGO, Hindraf Makkal Sakti advisor N Ganesan who called up NRD office to inquire about the payment.

He was told by a women officer, known as Junaidah, that Menachi had not been required to pay RM210.
Instead, the officer claimed that Menachi was merely told to bring a support letter from her village head when collecting the MyKad.

“The counter officer asked for money, not penghulu’s letter.It was a lie,” insisted Menachi, a Hindu widow to a Muslim husband, Jamal, who passed away in 2009.

This is not the first time that Menachi had a run in with the authorities.

“It’s a curse to be  stateless poor Indians in this country,” she told  FMT.
The late Jamal and Menachi have three sons and two daughters, now aged 20 to 30.

Her three boys, Kamal, Aziz and Jasmin, did not face any difficulty obtaining  birth certificates and identity cards because they were carrying Muslim names.

However, her two Hindu daughters, Santi and Mala, were not issued citizenship documents.

According to Menachi, NRD officers have always insisted that she and her daughters convert to Islam to enable them to btain the documents without anymore constraints.

“NRD denied our legitimate rights simply because we refused to convert to Islam,” she said.
Because of the conversion issue, Santi, 30, could not even legally register her marriage with construction worker, V Shivamoorthy, 34 in Aug 2004.

Subsequently Santi’s three children – Nisantini,6, Karthikesan, 5, and Eswaran, 4, were also denied birth certificates initially.

She first sought help of local MIC leaders. But she claimed instead of helping her, the so-called community leaders  ‘advised’ her to convert to solve all her problems.

Menachi then sought the help of Hindraf ground volunteers, who then re-submitted official applications supported by some legal documents, to obtain the citizen documents for her and her children.

Finally a month ago, Santi and Mala received their birth certificates and MyKads.

Santi’s children too obtained their birth certificates, leaving Menachi the only one without her MyKad.
Ganesan has donated  RM210  for Menachi’s  MyKad and she will go to the NRD office next week hoping to collect her card.

Citing Menachi case as mere a tip of the iceberg, Ganesan said the government’s MyDaftar campaign, which was supposedly to resolve ethnic Indians stateless problems is not working at all.

He described the campaign as mere wayang kulit (shadow play) .   He blamed UMNO’s for the plight of the stateless Indians

He said UMNO agenda was to treat ethnic Indians as “immigrants” and deny them, especially the poor, any citizenship rights .