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MyKad Should be a Card of convenience, not punishment

Press Statement

by M. Kula Segaran

(Parliament, Tuesday): The national registration department has warned Malaysians that those caught without Mykad on them could be fined between RM3, 000 and RM20, 000 or slapped with a 3 year jail sentence. This is absolutely absurd. Some form of punitive fine is in order, but why so excessive? Is the NRD or the government itself running out of money?

Section 25(1) of the National Registration Regulations1990 (amended 2001) sets out the above penalties. This regulation is ultra virus, unlawful and unconstitutional This is so as a delegated legislation cannot be inconsistent with the principle Act. (delegatus non potest delagare)  The Parent Act, the National Registration Act1959(revised 1972) did not empower the home Minister to make regulations to provide for such a mandatory minimum fine of RM3000 for the offence of not caring MyKad. Under Section 6(2)(u) of the Parent Act, the Minister may make regulation to provide for the imposition of penalties for any contravention of any regulations and such penalty shall not exceed a fine of RM50,00 or imprisonment for a term of five years.


An identity card is, as its name declares, to ascertain the identity of the bearer, for the convenience of both the bearer of holder of the card and the administrative convenience of persons or establishments which need to make sure of the persons true identity. Like when an identity has to be ascertained in a bank, for instance, when a person wants to cash a cheque from his or her own personal current account or in a post office when a withdrawal of money needs to be made from his or her saving account.


Or, sometimes, in a hospital when an identity needs to be ascertained. Or, at a police station when a police report is being lodged. Or, at a police checkpoint on a road when perhaps some crime like murder or armed robbery had just been committed.


Most large establishments both in the public and private sectors require some form of identification from a person who wants to enter their premises to look for someone working therein or to conduct official business with some personnel working therein.


Foreign diplomatic establishments like embassies and high commissions insist on keeping a Mykad in exchange for a numbered card until the end of the business or transaction or visit. Large companies, including media establishments, follow a similar practice. All for the purposes of identification, convenience and security.


The Malaysian Government should bear such points in mind when handling the current Mykad controversy. So should Malaysian citizens, the great majority of whom are of course law-sbiding people who are fully conscious of the needs of identification, convenience and security in our modern society.


According to an online poll conducted by The star recently, only about 43% of Malaysians carry their Mykad on them wherever they go. We can say this is unfortunate, perhaps even deplorable. But we must try to find out why this is so. Some say they have lost their original cards before, so they now only carry a photocopy of it. Others say they have been the victims of pickpockets and snatch-thieves, so they dont want to risk losing their original MyKad again. What does it mean? It mean it is a fairly resounding vote of no confidence in the public safety of the country, whatever guarantees and reassurances the government of the police or other authorities would like to give.


When means to say that the relevant authorities, particularly the NRD, must be sensitive to some of the fears and anxieties of our citizens about carrying their Mykad whenever they go or at least whenever they go out of their homes. It is not a matter of these people not being law-abiding. Being law-abiding or not doesnt arise here, actually. It is a matter of common sense.


In other words, there is no logical or compelling reason or life and death imperative that MALAYSIANS must carry their Mykad all the time when they are out of their homes, when a true certified copy of it should be good enough. Unless they wish or need to go those places I mentioned earlier.


If and when, for some security exercise arising out of some unforeseen event or circumstances, a person if required to show his or her Mykad, a true certified copy can surely be a good and reliable substitute so long as the original can be produced within a reasonable time.


Are surprise checks to be conducted throughout the country? How many officers or personnel need to be recruited? Or is the real aim to create more employment opportunities, especially for our ever-growing army of unemployed university graduates?


As the MyKad issue has brought about controversies both on the quantum of fine and its legality I submitted a motion for the house to be adjourned to discuss this issue. Notwithstanding have agreed that this motion is definite and of public importance but the Speaker regrettably rejected the motion on the ground that this is not an urgent matter as the Home Ministry is reviewing the rules and regulations. It would have been better to allow the motion to be debated as the issues are of great public importance requiring the government to detail the reasons for the hefty fines which is inconsistent with the parent act.



* M. Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman

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