R.Ragu showing the temporary ID he received
IPOH: The words that came out of 33-year-old R. Ragu sounded like they were plucked out of Martin Luther King Jr's famous speech, I Have A Dream.
"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in this country as respected citizens.
"That they will be called Malaysians, and that they will not be made stateless like their father," said Ragu at the National Registration Department (NRD), here, yesterday.
Speaking to the New Straits Times after obtaining his new temporary identification document, the father of three, who is expecting his fourth child soon, said he hoped his children would not suffer the same fate because of his stateless status.
His eldest daughter is now 9 and Ragu is worried that she would not be given a MyKad when she turns 12.
"If I, her father, had no MyKad and am not accepted as a citizen of this country, will the National Registration Department accept my eldest daughter as a citizen?
"Will my two younger daughters get to live as Malaysians? Will my unborn fourth suffer the same fate?"
Ragu also wondered if his fate would change after he got his temporary ID.
He said that the solution to his problem would be getting his MyKad.
"Many years ago, I held a similar temporary ID but I struggled to get work because companies, factories and enterprises asked me to produce my MyKad.
"Will things really change now for me and my family? No, not even a little, I believe.
"What is the use of re-issuing a temporary ID? I can't open a bank account, buy a prepaid mobile phone card, own a car or have anything to my name.
"My situation is worse than a bankrupt."
Ragu, who was abandoned by his parents when he was 4, only has an incomplete birth certificate issued in 1998 indicating that he was born in Bagan Serai, near Taiping, to one Rajamani.
Because the certificate has no other details about his parents, the NRD only issued a temporary ID which was valid until 2004 when the Home Ministry decided to stop issuing them.
His eight attempts to apply for a MyKad since 1998 failed because he cannot prove that he was born here.
In his last attempt, in July, he was allegedly told to meet Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah to get the ruler's letter to support his MyKad application.
His plight was highlighted by the NST last Thursday, when he was unable to meet Sultan Azlan Shah. However, the ruler, on learning of Ragu's plight, instructed the NRD last Friday to issue a new temporary ID immediately, pending his application for a MyKad.
Ragu arrived in Ipoh with his wife G. Neelaawathi, 27, and their three children and they have been sleeping in their car since last Tuesday.
Despite his stateless predicament, Ragu is grateful that there were people who helped him.
"Although what I got was not what I had wished for, I am still very grateful to Sultan Azlan Shah, the New Straits Times, state exco member A. Sivanesan and Kuala Kangsar municipal councillor S. Thiagarajan who have helped me in their own way.
"I hope the government will give me MyKad before my eldest daughter turns 12," he said, adding that the temporary ID expires in September 2010.