Press Statement By Irene Chang:
JPN Sarawak in charge of issuing Death certificates needs to urgently address the problem caused by the long closure of their Sibu office in UTC Sibu from 19th February 2021 until 17th March 2021 due to the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO) and Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Sibu.
In normal times, a death of a family member needs to be registered with the Registry of Births and Deaths at JPN within 7 days. However, because of the long closure, no death which occurred within the MCO and CMCO periods of time could be registered until 18th March 2021 when UTC reopened for business. By that time, the 7 days would have expired for most cases. These would then all be categorized as late registration which need to be sent to Kuching for the extract of Death Certificate to be issued. A lot of these applicants for the death certificate extracts are very worried and concerned as they have been told that the waiting period for these certificates to be issued by JPN Kuching could be anything between 2 weeks to 6 months.
This long period of uncertain waiting time, even if the death certificates cannot be issued on the spot as in normal times, cannot be acceptable. Most of the administrators and executors of the estate of the deceased persons would need the death certificate promptly for them to administer the estates. Also, many death claims have a timeline to be kept. Claims like EPF death benefit of RM2,500.00 needs to be made within 6 months of death. If a person had passed away in February and had only being able to register the death after 18th March, his family members would
either not be able or can barely have enough time to make their claim if the Death Certificate is only issued 6 months after. There might be insurance and other claims which need to be submitted within a certain dateline. There might also have civil claims to be made against untimely deaths caused by motor accidents.
Although I can understand the longer waiting time because of the need to send them to Kuching, JPN Sarawak should give a timeline for these cases from Sibu and other places where the normal issuance of death certificates have been disrupted because of the pandemic. With the advance of technology where everything can be sent online, a reasonable timeline would be 2 weeks to one month. The possibility of having to wait for 6 months for the issuance is certainly too long and cannot be accepted by the people. I urge JPN Sarawak to liaise with JPN Sibu to work out the best way for these death certificates to be issued within the earliest possible time.