RM1,000 penalty for late birth reg­is­tra­tion hurt­ing poor, says Jeffrey

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - FRONT PAGE -

KOTA KINABALU: The Parti Sol­i­dar­iti Tanah Air (STAR) has crit­i­cised the sud­den and dras­tic rise in penalty of RM1,000 for late birth reg­is­tra­tion which it said would hurt the poor peo­ple in the in­te­rior of Sabah and Sarawak.

STAR pres­i­dent Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitin­gan said in a state­ment yes­ter­day that the de­ci­sion by the Na­tional Reg­is­tra­tion De­part­ment was an­other sad devel­op­ment in the coun­try which puts even greater bur­den on the peo­ple who have al­ready been suf­fer­ing from se­vere eco­nomic hard­ships.

“Due to lack of trans­port fa­cil­i­ties in the in­te­rior of the Bor­neo states, the trips to the near­est towns are very time con­sum­ing and ex­pen­sive for many ru­ral folk,” Jeffrey said.

“In many cases they have to sleep overnight on side­walks in towns just to be able to deal with the NRD. This is all hap­pen­ing be­cause of the gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to de­velop the states af­ter half a cen­tury and now it is the peo­ple who have to pay heav­ily for that fail­ure,” he claimed.

Jeffrey, who is also Bingkor assem­bly­man, said the amount of RM1,000 was too in­cred­i­bly high and looks like a se­vere pun­ish­ment and vic­tim­iza­tion of the cash-strapped peo­ple.

“Just imag­ine, many of our poor in­te­rior fam­i­lies don’t even have RM10 in the whole house,” Jeffrey said.

“What can they sell to come up with RM1,000? I be­lieve they would even be will­ing to go to jail rather than bleed to pay such an im­pos­si­ble amount.

“As such, this puni­tive de­ci­sion by the gov­ern­ment doesn’t even solve the prob­lem but make it even worse. There needs to be a sim­pler and more prac­ti­cal so­lu­tion, such as open­ing more NRD of­fices in the small towns of the in­te­rior lo­ca­tions.

“The NRD can even op­er­ate mo­bile reg­is­tra­tion pro­grams by which they would go into the vil­lages on reg­u­lar ba­sis to reach the peo­ple in­stead of forc­ing the poor peo­ple to go through ar­du­ous and very ex­pen­sive trips to towns,” he added.

He said the gov­ern­ment must re­scind the de­ci­sion and think of a bet­ter and more prac­ti­cal so­lu­tion to the prob­lem of late birth reg­is­tra­tion.

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