By Debra Chong
June 09, 2011
If the authorities are truly sincere about 1Malaysia,this surely is the roadmap to follow.
KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — The DAP pledged today to back Hannah Yeoh and Ramachandran Muniandy all the way to court in their bid to register their newborn child as an “Anak Malaysia” for her official ethnicity.
In a statement today, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said he has directed the party’s legal adviser, Gobind Singh Deo, to represent the interracial couple in court should they decide to pursue the case.
“Forcing Hannah (picture) and Ramachandran to choose either Indian or Chinese is repugnant when they just want their child to be known as Malaysian,” Lim said.
“By deliberately forcing us into ethnic boxes BN is not celebrating diversity nor creating a common Malaysian identity, but opportunistically playing divide-and-rule politics,” the Penang chief minister added, criticising the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.
Subang Jaya state lawmaker Yeoh, 32, and her husband had sparked controversy earlier this week after tweeting their failure to win approval from the National Registration Department (NRD) to register their daughter as “Anak Malaysia” under the category for race.
The NRD issued a statement yesterday explaining it was unable to process the duo’s unorthodox request as policy determined the child’s race follow the parents; leaving Yeoh and Ramachandran two options — Chinese or Indian.
The couple subsequently chose to register their firstborn as Chinese, but said they would appeal to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
NRD says no to ‘Anak Malaysia’
Wednesday, June 08 @ 08:01:02 CDT
This department cannot register a certain ethnicity other than that of either the child’s mother or father, says a department statement.
Despite calls from civil society and opposition parties to accept ‘Anak Malaysia’ as an official ethnicity, the National Registration Department (NRD) refused to budge, stressing that the race of children must follow their parents.
“This department would like to inform that the ethnicity of a child is determined according to the ethnicity of the child’s mother or father.
“This department cannot register a certain ethnicity other than that of either the child’s mother or father,” said a statement released by NRD today.
The statement was issued by NRD’s corporate communication officer Jainisah Mohd Noor in response to a Malaysiakini report yesterday.
It had been reported that Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh and her husband Ramachandran Muniandy attempted to register their daughter’s race as ‘Anak Malaysia’.
However, this was rejected by NRD, saying that the couple can only choose either Chinese or Indian.
Yeoh eventually chose Chinese, but decided to write to both Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the NRD to appeal.
The DAP lawmaker later shared the experience through her micro-blogging website Twitter and received strong support from both netizens and opposition politicians.
Puchong MP Gobind Singh, who is also from DAP, even suggested on Twitter that they should bring the matter to court.
Meanwhile, NGO Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) lent its support to Yeoh, urging Najib to immediately order the NRD to accept and register all children whose parents request that they be registered as ‘Anak Malaysia’.
NONE“We unreservedly support the right of the parents to determine the identity of their beloved child.
“We wholeheartedly commend Hannah (right) and Rama for the courage to stand by their principles.
“Their stand to remind us of our common identity as human beings, and as members of this collective called Malaysia, deserves the highest accolade,” said SABM in a statement today.
It pointed that two years ago, the government had announced that it was reviewing the need for the category ‘ethnicity’ in all official forms.
“We wonder as to the status of this review exercise. Obviously the NRD has not acted on this decision yet.
“In this era of information technology, the NRD’s reason that their system is not designed to capture a new ‘identity’ can only be considered lame.”
SABM said that Najib should take immediate action to show that the government is sincere about actualising its vision of 1Malaysia.
“We, as a people, need to consciously reject the ethnic silos created by politicians and bureaucrats alike.
“We call upon all Malaysians to stand with Hannah and Rama in this noble struggle to challenge the anachronistic paradigm of governance premised on ‘ethnicity’,” read the statement.
Lawmaker fails to register child as ‘anak Malaysia’
Tuesday, June 07 @ 08:28:54 CDT
The registration department rejects a bid by assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh and husband M Ramachandran to register their daughter as ‘anak Malaysia’ by race.
In a bid to reject racial politics, a state assemblyperson attempted to register her daughter’s race as ‘Anak Malaysia’ but was told by national registration officers that the current system does not allow this.
The six-day-old baby girl, Shay Adora Ram, who almost became the nation’s first official ‘anak Malaysia’, is the first child of Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh and Ramachandran Muniandy.
The parents went to the National Registration Department headquarters in Putrajaya today to register Shay for her birth certificate.
NONE “We were given a form to fill up. So we put ‘anak Malaysia’ in the column for ‘race’, but we were told by the officer that her race must be defined according to the parents’ race, which is Chinese or Indian,” Yeoh (right) told Malaysiakini when contacted today.
“We replied that my daughter is not Chinese or Indian.”
Yeoh then opted to leave the column blank but this was again rejected by the officer.
“They said there is no provision to leave it blank. The system is incapable of registering our child. We must choose either one race,” said the DAP lawmaker, adding that the lain-lain (others) category was also not available for her daughter.
The frustrated couple decided not to complete the registration process today, but was told that late registration would be more complicated and might affect the child in terms of medical treatment and other matters.
Having no choice but to safeguard their daughter’s interest, the couple registered Shay as Chinese, for the time being.
“I’m going to write to the prime minister and the department’s director-general to appeal.
“The system of registering citizens should be reflective of what the prime minister is preaching every day,” said Yeoh.
“My husband and I are very vocal about racial issue. I don’t want my child to look at her birth certificate one day and ask why we did not do what we preach.”