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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Commotion erupts at Penang stateless protest

A commotion erupted at the Penang National Registration Department (NRD) when police tried to prevent protesters holding red identity cards (IC) from entering the premises.

About 30 red IC holders, their families and several assemblypersons from Pakatan Rakyat gathered at Larut Road earlier  in the morning before marching to the NRD office on Anson Road.

NONEThe group, led by PKR vice-president N Surendran, included senior citizens and children who were not issued blue ICs by the NRD.
When they arrived at their destination, a commotion erupted when the police tried to prevent them from entering the building.

"This is unlawful and illegal," said Surendran.
One protester, shouted "the police are sabotaging us!"
Latheefa Koya of the NGO Lawyers for Liberty said the police had threatened to arrest them.

They were accompanied by many supporters and Pakatan state assemblypersons, including Sim Tze Tzin (Pantai Jerejak), Jason Ong (Kebun Bunga), and Ng Wei Aik (Komtar).

There were also several individuals with green ICs who joined the rally.
Access eventually granted 

After the Pakatan leaders had negotiated with the police, the group was allowed to enter the building.

They sat down at the lobby and waited for further action from the NRD.

Earlier, the 100-metre procession did not disrupt traffic flow as police and the state's volunteer patrol unit managed traffic and guided the marchers.

NONEThey carried banners with the slogan ‘duduk' and ‘bantah' and chanted "hidup rakyat".

Before the walk, Surendran (right) said the group wanted the NRD to process their applications immediately.

"They are ordinary citizens. Why are they denied their blue ICs?" he asked.

The event was prompted by the many complaints PKR state offices received from stateless people, including those with red ICs.

The protesters were also incensed by the revelations at the ongoing Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah, which revealed that foreigners - Indonesians, Filipinos and Pakistanis - had obtained ‘instant' citizenships.

This is in stark contrast to many born and bred in Malaysia, whose citizenship applications have taken many years to process, and many not approved.

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