Najib hands out citizenship papers to Indians ahead of polls

Sted Jaymal Zahiid, TMI

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today handed out documents to help solve the citizenship status of some “stateless” Indians, a key issue for the community, just ahead of Election 2013 expected to be held soon.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman said today’s event, which saw him giving out birth certificates, entry permits and citizenship papers to 120 recipients of which a majority of them are Indians, showed he had kept the promise he made immediately after taking office in April 2009.

“After 100 days of me leading this administration, I had promised to solve the registration problem as soon as possible. I made it one of the 12 key promises,” he told about 1,000 people who attended the documents distribution event in Sentul here.

“From then on, the government had worked hard to achieve that target,” added the Pekan lawmaker, who will be seeking his own mandate as prime minister in the upcoming polls.

He claimed Putrajaya had to date solved 219,000 cases involving citizenship documents while half of the 7,600 applications for identity documents from the Indian community from 2012 to this year had been solved.

The success in achieving the “tough task”, was credited to his flagship Government Transformation Plan (GTP) which changed the mindset of the relevant ministry to adopt a radical solution to the problem, added Najib.

The GTP was trumpeted as one of the many achievements of the Najib administration on live television just days before the BN chairman announced the dissolution of Parliament yesterday.

In its push for the country’s third biggest electorate, the opposition claimed the Najib administration had failed to address the “stateless” Indian problem, alleging there are 300,000 Malaysia-born Indians still without papers as a result of racial discrimination.

The federal opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat (PR) said it would gather the 300,000 in a protest in front of the National Registration Department in Putrajaya but only 300 had turned up.

PR had also included in its elections manifesto the pledge to solve all 300,000 cases within 100 days should it be voted into power but Najib today dismissed the idea as “impossible”.

“I asked the officers of the home ministry, if it was possible to do this. They told me ‘no’. Why? Because first, there are no 300,000. And even if there are, this means they have to solve 3000 cases a day. That is impossible,” he said.

“This is just another one of their false promises, their lies,” Najib said, an argument often repeated by members of the ruling coalition to counter PR’s elections pledges.