Tuesday, August 20

Cooperation from all parties needed to ensure stateless children get citizenship – Fatimah

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Fatimah (second right) and representatives from other agencies pose for a photo before the press conference at her office in Kuching.

KUCHING: Parents, community leaders, school administrators, the Education Department and the Registration Department will need to work together to ensure that stateless and undocumented children who had gone to school this year get their birth certificates and citizenship status.

Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Education Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said parents themselves must be one of those to take the initiative.

She said parents must come forward with the necessary information about their children and register them so that they can obtain their birth certificates.

“Although the Education Ministry has given all stateless and undocumented children the opportunity to go to school, the real issue that needs to be tackled is their citizenship status.

“This issue must be resolved otherwise they will still have problems after they finish their Form Five studies,” she told a press conference after an interagency meeting on education for stateless and undocumented children here today.

Fatimah said based on the information obtained from the Sarawak Education Department, some 766 stateless and undocumented children were registered for school in Sarawak this year.

As for the citizenship status, she advised parents to complete the citizenship form under article 15A of the Federal Constitution.

“These stateless and undocumented children, who are now already in school, must have their birth certificate, they must have an identification card and they must have citizenship status.

“Having a birth certificate does not mean automatically your children will be a citizen of Malaysia. You must apply for citizenship status,” she said.

Fatimah said her Ministry credited the Minister of Education or the Ministry of Education for coming up with this policy; to allow the stateless and undocumented children in Sarawak, Sabah and other places to go to schools.

Under the new national education policy, undocumented children are
now allowed to enter national schools as long as one of their parents is a Malaysian citizen.

The parents, however, must submit a confirmation letter or a certificate to prove that his or her child is a Malaysian citizen.