The National Registration Department will initiate an automatic system for birth registration, in a bid to solve the problem of late registration of children born across the country.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that the automatic registration would be launched throughout the country, with the exception in Sabah where the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants was ongoing.
The registration will be automatically processed the moment a child is born in the hospital.
“There are some parents who would pack up their belongings and go home immediately after their child was born in the hospital,” said Wan Junaidi.
He added that although the problem of delays in registering newborns was not as common as it used to be, it still exists.
“Everyone must register their children within 42 days of birth,” he said.
The late registration was not exclusive to Sarawak — one of the two states on the island of Borneo — where parents in the remote inner areas tend to delay registration.
“Despite the logistics problems in Sarawak, there is not much difference when compared with other states in the peninsula,” he explained.
Currently, the NRD has in corporation with community leaders to inform about the newborns in their respective communities.
The community leaders would collect the data on the newborns and give it to the divisional resident’s office. Then, the officials will forward the registration details to the NRD.
Wan Junaidi added that community leaders were the best people to identify genuine Malaysians in their settlements, especially in areas along the Sarawak-Kalimantan or Sarawak-Brunei borders.
“There will be those who will abuse this system. The community leaders are the ones who can best differentiate between locals and outsiders,” he said.
Nine years ago, the NRD successfully initiated the birth registration programme to outreach citizens living in remote interior areas. The NRD officers went sent to isolated communities such as in Penan to register births there.
“Back then, there was an average of 2,300 cases of late birth registrations a month. Since the programme started, it has decreased to about 200 cases monthly,” he said.