SABAH (Herald Malaysia): Files of 162 Bumiputera Christians who complained that they were wrongly classified as Muslims have gone missing from the National Registration Department in Sabah.
This was highlighted by the NECF-COSA, the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Commission of Sabah Affairs, during its recent meeting with Sabah’s Assistant Minister of Finance, Datuk Donald Mojuntin, who is also Upko’s information chief. The delegation of five pastors was led by its chairman, Rev Datuk Jerry Dusing.
The 162 files were painstakingly compiled by the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Sabah over a period of several months from several districts, according to Dusing, who is also SIB president.
He said they were handed over by SIB’s lawyer, Christina Liew to Haji Abdul Jafer Henry, the then state NRD director in his office two years ago on 24 Sept 2010 and witnessed by two pastors.
The 162 Christians claimed they were wrongly classified as Muslims in their MyKads and wanted that rectified.
In their complaints, they also wanted clarification from the department regarding mixed marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims and the religious status of their children.
They also wanted to know the procedures of verifying the religious status of MyKad holders who claimed to be non-Muslim but with Islam stated in their MyKad and who should bear the costs of such rectification.
When it was suggested that SIB re-submit the complaints, the NECF-COSA said the NRD must be held responsible for the missing files. They must also give an explanation how the files went missing when the NRD is a security area. They also wanted those responsible to be taken to task for the negligence. They also said the 162 files were painstakingly compiled involving a lot of time and expenses.
Mojuntin assured the delegation that he would try to find a solution to this problem as soon as possible.
The problem arose when the MyKad of bumiputra Christians in Sabah and Sarawak having ‘bin’ and ‘binti’ in their names were automatically classified by the NRD as Muslims. Matters came to a head when the NRD refused to make any rectification but instead referred the complainants to the Syariah Court for a decision whether they are indeed Muslims.
The matter was raised at the cabinet two months ago and it was decided that the NRD resolve the matter quickly.
National Registration Department director Ismail Ahmad was quoted as saying the errors were due to “technical glitches” that occurred when the department began entering data into the computerised database.
“I admit that sometimes we make mistakes but this is actually something that can be rectified immediately. All you have to do is come to the office to point out the mistake and we will rectify it for you, the people,” he was reported as saying. However, when the SIB enquired about the status of the 162 MyKad complaints of their members, they were told the files have gone missing. Have they? The question is who has taken the files? -- Bob Teoh