Gov’t urged to help stateless PRs get visa-free travel within ASEAN

National 1 minute, 49 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A LEGISLATIVE Council (LegCo) member yesterday asked the government to help stateless permanent residents (PRs) get visa-free travel within ASEAN.

Instead of a passport, stateless PRs hold a Certificate of Identity (CI) – a travel document that allows them to travel overseas.

Speaking during the 12th Legislative Council session yesterday, Yang Berhormat Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin explained the difficulties faced by stateless PRs, who must apply for a visa to travel virtually everywhere with the exception of Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak.

“These are accomplished people such as businessmen, experts and professionals in various fields,” he said.

“As their financial resources are strong and they may help local SMEs expand overseas, may I request that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade take the initiative to negotiate with other ASEAN countries to allow Brunei CI holders to travel to their countries without a visa.”

YB Pehin Dato Goh added that he had raised the issue repeatedly during previous sessions of LegCo, demonstrating “the seriousness of the problem being faced by Brunei permanent residents”.

The LegCo member also touched on the lengthy delays faced by PRs who had passed the citizenship test but had yet to officially receive their registration as citizens of Brunei Darussalam.

“Ministers have said that passing the examination does not guarantee your citizenship. For your information, applicants have received official letters from the Ministry of Home Affairs informing them that they have passed their applications for citizenship by registration under Chapter 5(1) of Brunei Nationality Act, and the result would be notified to them at a later date,” said YB Pehin Dato Goh.

“The ministry should state that their application is still being processed and by saying so they will feel confident in waiting for their certificate of citizenship.”

YB Pehin Dato Goh then proceeded to read out a sample letter sent to an applicant from the Department of the Immigration and National Registration which stated that he/she would receive citizenship after successfully passing the Malay language test.

“I hope the minister in this case should stand by this because this is an official letter from His Majesty’s Government,” he added.

The Brunei Times