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