Simplify access to school for children with citizenship issues in S’wak, senator tells MoE

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File photo for illustration purposes only.

MIRI (April 1): The Ministry of Education (MoE) should make it easier for children in Sarawak with citizenship documentation problems to attend school, said Senator Abun Sui Anyit.

He said the ministry should address this issue at all levels.

Abun said during the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak leadership council meeting (MKN) on March 30, Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek had said the Madani Unity Government is doing its best to enable indigenous Sarawakian children who have yet to obtain their citizenship documents to attend school.

“The circular on this issue needs to be refined immediately so that these children do not continue to drop out,” he said in a statement.

Abun, who is MKN Sarawak deputy chairman, said PKR president Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim affirmed this instruction.

As such, he called on the Ministry of Home Affairs through the National Development Department (JPN) to urgently resolve the documentation problems faced by stateless or undocumented children throughout Sarawak.

He also thanked the federal government for responding to the plight of stateless or undocumented children.

“Hopefully we will see the results as soon as possible and these children can go to school and obtain their citizenship,” he said.

On March 23, Fadhlina told Parliament that all stateless and undocumented children can attend any government or government-aided schools provided that one parent is a Malaysian and has a letter that certifies that the child is born to a Malaysian parent.

Fadhlina said Circular No. 1/2009 is a document for the admission of children without citizenship or documents to government schools or government-aided schools.

“Based on the circular, the terms for admission of an undocumented or stateless child to a government school or government-aided school are subject to one of the child’s parents being a Malaysian citizen.

“In addition, a letter or certificate that certifies that the child is born to a Malaysian parent must be obtained from the village chief,” she said during the Minister’s Question and Answer session.