SABAH RCI A man who was born in Tawau, Sabah said he had lived with his name being stated ‘no name’ for almost 40 years, the royal commission of inquiry on immigrants in Sabah heard today.

Mahat Ismail, 65 said he has had to live with the name after an officer at the hospital where he was born filled his name in his birth certificate  as ‘no name’.

“I asked my father, who was working at that hospital, why did my birth certificate say that I am ‘no name’?

“He explained that on that day, he was busy working, running up and down at the hospital, so he forgot to register my name.

“So the registrar just filled in my name as ‘no name’, and when my father collected the birth certificate he was surprised to find that my name was ‘no name’,” he testified at the Kota Kinabalu court complex, as the room burst into laughter.

As a result of that, Mahat said it was only until the 1980s that he was able to finally rectify his name to the one that he has now.

Before this, political parties had raised question over voters whose name is ‘no name’, querying whether they were dubious voters.
He said a letter acknowledging the correction was subsequently issued to him and he was finally able to make a passport.

‘Common happening’

At this, RCI commissioner Herman Luping concurred that is was a common occurrence in Sabah.

“I know a man who had his name in the birth certificate written as ‘no name’ and he is now a prominent politician, and also a woman had passed away and had a name,” he said.

NONEConducting officer Jamil Aripin (left) later explained that if Sabah were to do a full recall of identity cards, genuine citizens who hold such ‘no name’ birth certificates will have a hard time proving their citizenship.

He added that similarly, many citizens of the older generation do not have birth certificates to prove their citizenship as they did not register their births in the old days.

Mahat, whose Suluk ancestors had lived in Sabah for a few generations, said he received his education until Form 5 and could speak English but can only manage “broken Suluk”.

However, he said the intrusion in Lahad Datu by the Suluks from the Philippines, or known as Tausugs in that country, has hurt Suluk Sabahans.

“Now the Suluks don’t even dare to speak Suluk, they have been stamped as ‘terrorists’,” he said.

Mahat added that those who had facilitated immigrants to illegally obtain citizenship should also be charged with treason and have their property confiscated.

“In other countries, they would have been killed,” he said.

~ Malaysiakini