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KOTA KINABALU: Birth certificates are issued to foreign children born in Sabah to regulate their presence, however does not make them Malaysians or citizens of the state.

State National Registration Department (NRD) director Ismail Ahmad said the birth certificate is for record and monitoring purpose to show that a person is born in the state.

“It is not a citizenship certificate but to record who they are," he explained in a media briefing here, today.

"The same applies to Malaysians born outside of the country. They need to register the birth but it does not make the child a citizen of the country where they were born," he said.

Ismail cleared off the confusion of the people and politicians, who failed to understand the purpose to issue such document, after Home Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi call to offer birth certificates for stateless children in Sabah.

They were concerned that such move may be abused in the future following the already heavy presence of illegal immigrants in the state.

Ismail said for children of foreigners, regardless legal or illegal immigrants, born in the state, a red birth certificate would be issued to differentiate them from citizens (green birth certificate).

"If the parents are holders of IMM13 or Sijil Burung-Burung (state-issued documents) and have registered their child's birth, they will have to go to the immigration to get the necessary documents but not Malaysian citizenship. This also includes the Pala'u (sea gypsy) in Semporna.

"For expatriates, tourists, or foreign workers with valid documents, they need to go to their respective embassy and consulate," he explained.

Ismail said illegal immigrants, whose children are born in Sabah, could also come forward to register for birth certificate but they would be referred to the immigration and would be deported.

"It is stated in the Births and Deaths Ordinance Sabah 1951 that all births must be registered regardless of the status. It is nothing new."

He added the state NRD has a special team that are able to identify documented stateless foreigners (IMM13 and state-issued documents holders) and illegal immigrants, including taking DNA sample.

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