LegCo member seeks CI revision to ease travel for stateless PRs

National 2 minutes, 24 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A LEGISLATIVE Council member has proposed for a revision of the Brunei Certificate of Identity’s existing front cover to ease travel hassles for stateless permanent residents (PRs).

Yang Berhormat Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin said based on his research, other countries such as Australia also issues the Certificate of Identity, but as a travel document for refugees.

Australia issues the Convention Travel Document, which is recognised by the United Nations, he added.

He hoped the existing front cover of the Certificate of Identity of stateless PRs can be revised to give them recognition so that they are not mistaken for refugees.

The Legislative Council member was speaking to The Brunei Times after raising immigration issues with the Ministry of Home Affairs yesterday.

He further said the public have also raised their concerns that the Brunei Certificate of Identity is not acknowledged in ASEAN countries.

Last month, it was reported that Vietnam did not recognise the Certificate of Identity issued to stateless PRs.

Vietnam has suspended the issuance of visas to Brunei Certificate of Identity holders since 2011.

There were 20,992 stateless PRs in Brunei, according to December 2010 figures.

In addition, YB Pehin Dato Goh questioned the long wait for citizenship certificates by some permanent residents who had passed the test.

“The public are complaining why is the process so long?,” he said, adding that some people have been waiting for more than three years.

“If possible, I propose that the process of issuing the citizenship certificate to be expedited,” he added.

When asked what was the response of the Ministry of Home Affairs when the issue was raised, YB Pehin Dato Goh said the senior officials would look into the matter.

In addition, the Legislative Council member queried on the status of a new immigration policy that would allow foreigners to attain permanent residency.

“Women who are permanent residents are complaining, why is it that their husband and children cannot get permanent residency?”

However, the wife and children of their brothers who are PRs, were able to get PR status, he said.

Based on Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it has been stated that “all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”, the Legislative Council member added.

YB Pehin Dato Goh further said the existing policy requires three criteria for foreigners to be granted permanent residency.

This included willingness to invest no less than $400,000; or they must be experts, such as doctors, lawyers, etc; or their spouse is a Brunei citizen.

He said a senior Ministry of Home Affairs official responded that proper guidelines have been established on this particular issue.

Under the new policy, husbands and children of women with permanent resident status can be considered for permanent residency after 15 years from the date of marriage, he added.

The Brunei Times