PTI in M’sia get ‘proof of identity’ if vaccinated

PTI in M’sia get ‘proof of identity’ if vaccinated.

Parliament can grant Amnesty for ‘documentation’ before vaccination.

Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin may yet put the cart before the horse viz. vaccinate the PTI (pendatang tanpa izin or illegal immigrants) before raising the “proof of identity” in law issue.

The jury may not be out on whether the PTI will turn up for vaccination, voluntarily, without being arrested. Already, the UN has reportedly warned M’sia against arresting the PTI for vaccination.

It appears, from media reports, that the Home Minister wants to arrest the PTI and document them before vaccination. PTI, he claimed, cannot be vaccinated without being documented.

M’sia, it’s said, may not attain herd immunity on the pandemic brought by the novel Corona virus, unless at least 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated.

However, it’s still possible that herd immunity may not be attained even if all PTI are vaccinated. Again, on paper, it’s possible to attain herd immunity without vaccinating any PTI although uncertain risks remain.

The PTI can surely use vaccination certs as proof of identity. However, in law, the onus can only be on them. Any exception aside, the gov’t may not give PTI “proof of identity” from M’sia. If vaccination certs are used by the PTI as “proof of identity”, that’s a different matter, as they are acting on their own accord in facing the system.

Again, the media has reported that the PTI may be arrested as part of the vaccination programme. It appears that such arrests will facilitate “documentation” before vaccination. An issue arises: in law, vaccination cannot be made compulsory.

Again, another issue arises: documentation of PTI cannot mean the issuance of Malaysian personal documents, the Special Pass from Immigration aside, unless Parliament grants Amnesty.

Such Amnesty may only be available for those who have been in the country ten years or more.

That does not address the plight of the PTI who have been in the country for less than ten years. Many would have got off the boat legally, just before the pandemic struck, and been left stranded in the country with expired documents or overstayed.

Many countries consider their citizens as having lost legal status if they have been away ten years or more without renewing their passport. International law, being based on international customary practices, nevertheless has human rights at its core.

There’s recent case law by the Federal court on the stateless. The court ruled that the onus is on the stateless. Statelessness can be proven by those concerned getting confirmation from the home country on their status and advising the Federal court accordingly.

In M’sia, the Federal Constitution states that no one can be deprived of citizenship if there’s no alternative citizenship. The Constitution does not allow statelessness. Also, under the Constitution, Commonwealth citizens and those from the Irish Republic are not considered foreigners in M’sia.

In Sabah, the PETITAI (pendatang tanpa izin tapi ada IC) appear a variation but are conveniently labelled PTI as well. The PETITAI allegedly appear on electoral rolls but may be missing from the National Registration Dept (NRD) data bank.

The anomaly was last publicly raised when the Home Minister announced that NRD officers would be stationed at polling stations for the snap Sabah polls on Sept 26. The exercise, it was reported, would weed out PETITAI votes. That saw the changing of the guards in Sabah. The outgoing gov’t did not get the widely anticipated landslide victory.

There are also PETITAI on the electoral rolls, also labelled PTI, who are in the NRD data bank. These were born outside Sabah but hold late registration birth certificates. The RCI Report on Sabah also refers.

Late registration birth certificates are available in Sabah, via the mobile court or Magistrate’s Court, but only for locals who go through a checklist.

PTI born in M’sia are already eligible for local birth certificates. If they don’t hold the document, they may approach the mobile court or Magistrate’s court but many fear arrest, detention and deportation although the issue does not arise in law. No country in the world will accept such deportees.

Author: fernzthegreat

Joe Fernandez holds a honours degree in management, majoring in economics, and has opted from academia in law to being a jurist. He was trained professionally on the job as a journalist. He's a longtime Borneo watcher, keen on the history and legal aspects of Malaya's presence in Sabah and Sarawak. He teaches the English language privately and has emerged as a subject matter expert in public examination techniques.

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