BY JAMIE CHAI YUN LIEW
MARCH 28 — Malaysia has a statelessness problem but not in the way that many expect. Stateless persons in Malaysia are not foreigners, migrants or even “illegals”. They are born and bred in Malaysia.
Between January and April 2018, I conducted research in Malaysia interviewing stateless persons, lawyers, paralegals, NGOs, and academics. Over the course of examining legal cases, reading news articles, and talking to Malaysian experts working in the field, I discovered there are six categories of stateless persons in Malaysia. These six categories include: (1) persons who were citizens before Malaysian independence (including those persons who came to work in plantations); (2) persons who have lost important documentation such as birth certificates or marriage licenses; (3) abandoned children (foundlings) and adopted children born in Malaysia; (4) children of mixed marriages or children born before a marriage was registered; (5) Indigenous persons; (6) some refugees and migrants. Read more