Tuesday, June 11, 2013

NRD plans automatic registration of births

The National Registration Department plans to eliminate the problem of late registration of births by introducing automatic registration the moment a child is born in hospital.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said this would be done as parents still delayed registering their offspring.

He said automatic registration would come into effect soon throughout the country, with the exception of Sabah, where the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants was ongoing.

Wan Junaidi said although the problemwas not as prevalent as before, it still existed.

“There are some parents who would pack up their things and go home immediately after their child was born in hospital.

Everyone must register their children within 42 days of birth,” he said after paying a courtesy call on Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here yesterday.

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Wan Junaidi was accompanied by NRD director-general Datuk Jariah Mohd Said and state NRD director Datuk Abu Bakar Mat.

He said the problem was not exclusive to Sarawak, where parents in the remote interior tend to delay registration, but also nationwide.

"Despite the logistics problems in Sarawak, there is not much difference when compared with other states in the peninsula."

Wan Junaidi said to circumvent the problem, NRD had enlisted the help of community leaders to inform the department of childbirths in their communities.

"We are empowering community leaders, like 'penghulu' and 'kapitan', to help register newborns in their communities."

He said the community leaders would collect the data on the newborns and relay the information to the divisional resident's office. The office will then, in turn, forward the registration details to NRD.

Wan Junaidi added that community leaders were the best people to identify genuine Malaysians in their settlements, especially in areas along the Sarawak-Kalimantan or Sarawak-Brunei borders.

"There will be those who will abuse this system. The community leaders are the ones who can best differentiate between locals and outsiders."

Wan Junaidi also said NRD's outreach programme to register those living in remote interior areas had been successful.

Initiated nine years ago, the programme saw NRD officers going to isolated communities, such as the Penan, to register births there.

"Back then, there was an average of 2,300 cases of late birth registrations a month. Since the programme started, it has decreased to about 200 cases monthly."

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