KL-foundling Hashimah finally gets blue MyKad after 40 years
PUTRAJAYA, Feb 3 — Abandoned in Kuala Lumpur while a baby, Hashimah who goes by only one name, was all smiles today after collecting her blue MyKad and citizenship certificate at the National Registration Department (NRD) here.
The woman who turned 40 last month on January 9 was elated to finally call herself a Malaysian, after struggling her whole life to be recognised as one.
“Because of getting this blue IC, my life will become easier. I can get government hospital benefits, look for a new job, and travel if I want to,” Hashimah, dressed in a bright blue top, told reporters as she showed off her new identity card in blue that indicated her Malaysian citizenship.
Hashimah, who had never met her biological parents and was never adopted, recalled the many hurdles she faced growing up.
From being passed from one orphanage to another, to having to renew the green coloured temporary resident identity card every five years, starting from when she turned 18, all because her many citizenship applications were denied year in and year out.
She was also barred from taking government school examinations, paying more to be treated in government hospitals, and not being able to travel overseas.
She expressed her gratitude to the Lawyers For Liberty human rights group for taking on her case to gain Malaysian citizenship through the courts after being repeatedly denied one while growing up.
She was especially thankful to the two lawyers who represented her in the court battles that lasted two years — Latheefa Koya who was also a former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief, and Lawyers for Liberty legal coordinator Nabila Khairuddin.
“I won’t forget Ms Latheefa and Ms Nabila because this is their effort. I wouldn’t have this, if I didn't know the two of them,” she said, pointing to her MyKad and citizenship papers again.
Having undergone an arduous struggle to be recognised as Malaysian, Hashimah said she would like to help others who have similarly been abandoned in the country gain citizenship here if that were their wish.
“I want to help them. After going through this, I sympathise with them although we may have not met each other.
“So if there’s anything I can help, I will help,” she said.
Lawyers for Liberty director Zaid Malek who was also present, urged the government to simplify the citizenship application for stateless children found abandoned in the country.
“The Federal Constitution said that if there’s a case of an abandoned child or foundlings.
“The state must make a presumption that the mother of the child is a permanent resident of Malaysia, which makes the child fall squarely under Article 14(1)(a) which makes them eligible for citizenship,” he said.
Hashimah was awarded her Malaysian citizenship on November 17 last year by the High Court, which ordered the NRD to issue her a citizenship certificate and a Malaysian identification card.