A former hospital secretary of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kota Kinabalu who is also the Vice Chairman Sabah People Right Association, Edward Ewol Mujie urges the government to revert the issuing of birth certificates to hospital in his statement today. He said that he was posted as hospital secretary of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kota Kinabalu in January1968 and noted that the Medical Superintendent / Medical Officer in-charge of hospitals in Sabah are registered as Registrar of Birth.
He said that whenever babies were born in hospital all the details of the parents were being registered and as soon as the babies were born and being given name by the parents the Birth Certificates will be issued accordingly and signed by the Medical Superintendent / Medical Office in-charge. When the mother and babies were discharged, the birth certificates of the babies will be given to them to bring for safe keeping. And those who were born in the villages the duty of collecting all the detail of the parents and names of the babies will be done by the Midwife or better known as Bidan Kampong and after that the midwife concerned will bring all these records to the nearest hospital for the issuance of the Birth Certificate and later will be collected by the parents concerned.
So he said he noted that there was no problems faced by the parents as the processed of the issuance of the Birth Certificates were done without the parents facing a lot of problems. Moreover there was no hanky-panky in the issuance of the birth certificates as before the Medical Superintendent / Medical Office in-charge signed the Birth Certificates, he/she will check with sisters/nurses in-charge of the maternity wards and the midwife concerned whether the detail in the Birth Certificates are correct .
However, the provision of the Sabah Birth and Death Registration Ordinance 1951 was amended in the late nineties to give the authority to National Registration Department to issue the Birth Certificate to newly born babies. When this amendment was enforce, the parents of the newly born babies started having problems of getting the Birth Certificate of their babies, especially those who were living in the interiors of Sabah.
Edward said even the babies were born in hospital still the parents will face problems in getting the birth certificate of their babies especially those who are staying in the remote villages as they have to go to the nearest National Registration Department to register the birth of their babies so that the Birth Certificate can be issued within 21 days from the date of the babies were born and after 21 days the Birth Certificates can still be issued but such certificate need to verify and certify by the court later which takes a long process and time consuming.
Some of the parents may not be able to register the birth of their babies at all due to logistic and monetary problems as those parents who are living in the remote areas have to get transport to go to the nearest National Registration Department to do the necessary registration of their newly born babies and they might even have to stay a few day in the town where the National Registration Department as located which many of them can’t afford. And this is why there are few thousand children in the state do not possessed Birth Certificate and these children will be facing bleak future, he said.
Edward said as Birth Certificate are very important documents to be owned by the people in their lifetime the government must take action immediately to rectify this situation so that the future generation will not be facing similar problems as what is happening now. If the government can amend the provision of the Sabah Birth and Death Registration Ordinance 1951 to give authority to National Registration Department to issue the Birth Certificates, there should not be any problem amending the same ordinance to revert the issuing of Birth Certificate to all hospitals in Sabah as before.