KOTA KINABALU: A local senior civil servant has been appointed director of the state National Registration Department (NRD), following complaints about alleged inefficiency and discrepancy in the issuing of MyKad.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said state deputy director of immigration, Abdul Jaffear Henry (pix) , from Papar, would head the state NRD with immediate effect.
Jaffear's appointment came amid discontent among leaders of political parties and non-governmental organisations, prompted by reports that some locals born overseas had experienced problems applying for MyKad and citizenship.
Yong Lee Hua @ Piang Lin, 78, for instance, was issued a red MyKad (for permanent residents) when she applied for a replacement after losing her blue MyKad .
Many in the state, including Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, who sympathised with Yong's plight, had called for a revamp of NRD and for it to be headed by someone from Sabah.
There were also allegations that illegal immigrants had been issued MyKad through dubious means.
"Most of the NRD staff in Sabah are local people anyway. There will come a day when we are all just bangsa Malaysia, but for now, we have in place a director from Sabah who will handle all the problems here," Syed Hamid said during a visit to the state NRD office yesterday.
The state NRD is currently dealing with 30,310 applications for citizenship.
Yong, a Sino-Kadazan from Penampang, received her MyKad yesterday, along with full citizenship status.
Syed Hamid explained that the mistake made in issuing Yong the red MyKad came about because she had lost her blue MyKad twice.
"The mistake was genuine and the department was keen to rectify the issue." Syed Hamid also said the government would begin issuing temporary residence green cards to foreigners.
There were problems in the past because many people did not realise that it needed to be renewed and was not a valid travelling document. (This story reported HERE today)