NRD issued her a red identity card and asked her to apply for citizenship again.
She was issued a red IC as replacement of her citizenship, with NRD officials saying that it was normal procedure.
Her nightmare began when she lost her IC at a Supermarket at Penampang Baru on Feb. 12. On the same day, she lodged a police report and subsequently on Feb 26, applied for a replacement IC at the NRD office in Donggongon.
After several months, she went and collected her replacement IC at the NRD office and was given a red IC. She asked the officer why it was red and the lady officer said for senior citizens who lost their IC, the department normally replaced them with red ICs. She didn't find anything amiss with the officer's explanation until she reached home when her children said red ICs were issued to people with Permanent Resident status.
With the help of her children, they brought the matter up with the NRD together with supporting documents such as her Native Certificate that was issued by the Native Court on Sept 24, 1963, bank books and passport.
The NRD officer admitted there could have been an error but instead of rectifying it, Yong was asked to "apply for Malaysian citizenship" which she duly complied by submitting an application form to the office on July 2, last year.
Her problem did not end there because soon after, her bank accounts at Amanah Saham Nasional and Alliance Bank were frozen making her unable to withdraw money for her daily expenses.
Fluent in Kadazan and Chinese, the mother of seven sons and one daughter can no longer travel outside the country as she could not renew her expired passport.
Strangely, she was allowed to cast her vote at Peak Nam Thong Kindergarten during the recent Mar 8 general elections using her driving licence as identity document since her record in the polling list was still intact.
But her identification records at the Immigration Department, however, had completely "disappeared".
This action by the NRD clearly and intentionally infringes on the basic rights of Malaysians in Sabah.
"How can this happen to a Malaysian citizen who was born here and holding a Native Certificate to prove her citizenship," Upko Deputy President Datuk Seri Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing said.
"If the department had purposely committed the atrocious act, they must undo its gross mistake," he said.
"Illegal immigrants can easily acquire MyKads that subsequently enable them to purchase Native Title (NT) lands.
"What is happening with the NRD? This is totally unacceptable. And if this is the tip of the iceberg, I'm afraid we cannot guarantee protection to the genuine citizens," he said.
He said if the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government is not willing to look into this matter as well as into how illegal immigrants could mysteriously acquire Malaysian Identity Cards, Upko will take up the matter and fight for the people.
"If the NRD or government has no satisfactory answer, I strongly urge Upko to seriously review its position in the BN because an identification document is a very important matter as it shows their sense of belonging."
Bumburing said if the NRD is unable to handle Yong's case, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar must intervene.
If this can happen to her, it can happen to anybody (Malaysians)," Resource Development and Information Technology Assistant Minister, Donald Peter Mojuntin said.
Source: Daily Express: Illegals gain citizenship; Sabahans lose theirs' and The Star