Proposal for a temporary certificate to allow stateless children to attend school

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will review proposal of a special temporary certificate to allow stateless children to attend public schools, Parliament was told.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said however, the proposal need to be reviewed in details in the Cabinet.

“To register stateless people as citizens is a sensitive issue. Nevertheless, if there’s a consensus or political will, the ministry is willing to listen. We understand that children who did not get proper education when they were younger would tend to grow up and resort to criminal activities as they could not secure proper job due to lack of education.

“Their predicament was caused by their parents who did not register their marriage thus it was not possible to obtain birth certificate for their children, which is needed to enrol them in school,” he sadid.

Wan Junadi said there were a lot of cases of parents who did not register their marriage and later could not register and obtain birth certificate of their children.

“Thus, we are carrying out an outreach programme to increase public awareness including Mydaftar, mobile units in Sabah and Sarawak as well as Peninsula, counters at Urban Transformation Centres (UTCs), Rural Transformation Centres daily, meet-the-customers sessions with the ministry and seminar that has started in Sarawak including Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Limbang.

“This seminar will be attended by members of parliament, senators, assemblyman, residents’ leaders. The leaders are responsible to ensure that the registration for marriage, birth and deaths in their community are reported to the authorities.

“We will see the effectiveness of this seminar and may extend to Peninsula. If all parents are responsible and report the birth of their children to the National Registration Department, this problem wouldn’t have happened,” he said in responding to a supplementary question by Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani (BN-Titiwangsa).

Johari proposed for the certificate for the specific purpose saying that the stateless children should be given access to education at least until they are 18-year-old “when they can make their own decisions”.

Junaidi had earlier told the house that the ministry currently did not have a record or statistics on stateless people.

“Stateless people are those who do not have citizenship from any country and by right, in Malaysia, there is no stateless people as these individuals who do not have any personal document could not be allowed in the country.

“However, there are so many instances where the parents have failed to register the birth of their children and caused problems later as their children do not have birth certificate.

“Based on the status of the parents, the children will obtain citizenship status when at least one of the parents is a citizen or a permanent resident (PR), while children whose parents are not citizens or status not ascertained are considered as non-citizen.”

He said for children whose parents have their marriage registered, they are granted citizenship if one of the parents is a Malaysian.

“For marriage that were not registered, the citizenship of the child will be according to the citizenship of the mother in accordance to the Federal Constitution.”