KUALA LUMPUR (July 17): A High Court judge has asked the National Registration Department (NRD) to try to reach a settlement with three stateless individuals who are demanding MyKads.

Seventy-year-old Letchumy Suppiah and her daughthers Mala Kothandu, 45 and Sarojini Kothandu, 33 are seeking a court order to compel the NRD to issue them the blue identity cards.

They are also seeking a declaration that the government impinged on their rights by denying them citizenship through their numerous MyKad applications despite being born and living in Malaysia all these years.

Judge Datuk Zaleha Yusoff today gave both parties until Aug 19 to reach a settlement on the matter, failing which the case will proceed to a hearing.

The home ministry and the Malaysian government are the other respondents in this suit.

Erik Paulsen, the counsel representing Sarojini’s family, said Letchumy was born in Malaya but only received permanent resident (PR) status recently.

“The family have gone numerous times to NRD to register for a blue MyKad but their application was rejected. Under the law, it is sufficient if one parent is a citizen or a PR but Letchumy only received her PR recently,” he said.

He added that since the whole family was born, and have been living in Malaysia and identify no other country as home, the lawyers have argued that their status as citizens stand.

“Our argument is that an identity card is merely a document. One’s status as a citizen is already determined when one is born in the country,

“(In Malaysia) when you are 12 years old, NRD merely gives you the documentation but even during the years before that you are still a citizen,” he said.

He added: “The NRD wants documentation for Letchumy’s father’s status to be clarified. But he has passed away and there is no way of determining that. The evidence is not available.

“This (impasse) is not only affecting the status of the main applicant but also her daughters”.

Latheefa Koya, another lawyer for the family. said this case may work as a test case.

“If they can get their MyKads, thousands (of stateless people) more can too”.

by Tarani Palani, FZ.com