SEIZURE OF LAWAS CANCER PATIENT'S MyKAD UNLAWFUL, MUST BE RETURNED SAYS LAWYERS
MIRI, SARAWAK (April 13, 2023): Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has called on the government to return Lina Samuel’s MyKad, which was seized by the National Registration Department (JPN) Lawas, saying the action was unlawful and unconstitutional.
LFL director Zaid Malek in a statement yesterday said it was the woman’s right to have her MyKad, unless an order or deprivation of citizenship is made in compliance with the Federal Constitution.
“We refer to the recent report that the National Registration Department (JPN) has seized the MyKad of a 65-year-old woman, who is suffering from cancer, which the Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution defended by claiming that investigation has shown that the woman is an Indonesian citizen.
“The seizure of the MyKad of an individual is without a doubt unlawful and unconstitutional act by the JPN to which there can be no justification,” he said.
Zaid said JPN had no authority to summarily confiscate anyone’s MyKad, irrespective of whatever ‘investigation’ that purportedly was conducted on the case.
He said such action was a serious abuse of power. It deprived the woman of her citizenship and her rights attached to it.
The Federal Constitution clearly stipulates that there are procedures in place that must be complied with by the government if it intends to strip anyone of their citizenship.
“Article 27 of the Constitution directs the government to give notice in writing to the person, stating reasons as to why their citizenship will be stripped and inform them that they have a right to have the case referred to a committee of inquiry. If it is so referred, then an inquiry has to be conducted and a report made which the federal government must consider before it decides to deprive anyone of their citizenship.
“Above and beyond that, Article 26B states that no person shall be deprived of their citizenship if it would result in their statelessness,” said Zaid.
He said the Home Minister made no reference to such a process having been conducted, meaning that the government is defending a blatantly unconstitutional act of the JPN.
The JPN itself, he added, has confirmed that an investigation was ongoing, which logically means that the process under the Constitution has not even begun.
“Thus, the individual retains their citizenship until and unless an order for its deprivation is made in compliance with the Constitution; yet her MyKad was taken away and her rights are now affected, most worrying of which is her right to get treatment for cancer at government hospitals. This could result in her death due to denial of treatment,” said Zaid.
He went on to say that the Home Minister who has a duty to ensure that the JPN abides by the law, has opted to give out a callous remark, justifying an indefensible action to a woman who is literally dying and now made to suffer even more due to the actions of the JPN.
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