KUALA LUMPUR: Undocumented children are now allowed to enter Sekolah-sekolah Aliran Kebangsaan (national schools) as long as one of their parents is a Malaysian citizen, the Federal Education Ministry announced.
Its minister, Dr Maszlee Malik, said the parent must submit a confirmation letter or a certificate approved by the village chief to prove that his or her child is a Malaysian citizen.
“The parent or guardian of these children must work hard to compile the required identification documents,” Maszlee said in answering Kalabakan member of parliament Ma’mun Sulaiman at the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday.
In light of the recently-announced ‘Undocumented Children Can Enter Schools 2019’ initiative, Maszlee gave his assurance that the initiative would not affect the current opportunities and facilities enjoyed by the local children throughout the country.
“The ministry is responsible for providing an education infrastructure that is adequate in fulfilling the needs of the students of government schools.
“As of now, the ministry is actively conducting engagement sessions and discussion with the various government agencies, including the National Registration Department and the Immigration Department.
“This is to obtain feedback and opinions from the related agencies, in line with their respective policies and allocations,” he disclosed.
Maszlee explained that he would also be engaging with the Immigration Departments of Sabah, Sarawak and the other states to get more feedback on the said initiative.
He said that his ministry expects to obtain more information on the issue of education access among the undocumented children in the affected states.
In a supplementary question, Ma’mun had also asked on the case involving 700 local students who are currently ‘terapung’ (floating) as the Education Ministry had previously allowed undocumented children to register in national schools.
Maszlee stressed that under the new Malaysian government, there would no longer be any ‘floating’ students. He stressed that the government would be working hard to prevent this from happening again.
“The ministry will not neglect any schools and it will give its highest commitment to ensure that all the dilapidated schools in the state will be promptly fixed or reconstructed,” he added.
He asserted that the cooperation between the Federal Education Ministry and the Sabah Ministry of Education and Innovation would continue.
“I have met the minister (Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob) about five to six times. I can assure that under the new Education Ministry, Sabah will not be neglected in its education matters,” he said.