Now, Sabah-born top-scorer pleads for citizenship too

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Arly Mai Geanga who failed to obtain citizenship despite being born in Sabah to a Malaysian father and Filipino mother, wants a chance to further her studies at a public university and work in Malaysia. Image from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A high-scoring stateless student from Sabah yearns for similar assistance as that given to top academic achiever Roisah Abdullah in her pursuit of citizenship, so that she can further her studies and find a job in Malaysia.

Arly Mai Geanga, 22, who obtained seven As in her PMR examination and 8As and a B in SPM, said she could not get an identity card despite having been born at the Lahad Datu Hospital in Sabah.

She said she was unable to gain entry into local public institutions of higher learning, and private university fees were too expensive for her family.

“I am hoping that my case can be highlighted too, and something can be done by the relevant authorities to help me,” she told FMT. Read more

Stateless, bright girl fears dim future

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Roisah Abdullah speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Petaling Jaya March 16, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 ― She is a top student at her school in Klang, speaks fluent Bahasa Malaysia, idolises Neelofa and her favourite food is nasi lemak.

Despite having traits that appear Malaysian, Roisah Abdullah is not one.

Roisah, 21, or just Roi to her friends, was born to a foreign mother and an absentee Malaysian father, and is stateless as a result.

“Authorities said because they could not ascertain who my father was, since he left when I was born, they could not issue me a Malaysian citizenship,” she told Malay Mail in an interview. Read more

Apex court puts off hearing five Malaysia-born stateless persons’ citizenship cases

Source: The Malay Mail

The Palace of Justice in Putrajaya – File pix

PUTRAJAYA, March 6 — The Federal Court today adjourned its hearing of five cases involving stateless individuals who were born in Malaysia and are seeking Malaysian citizenship.

Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, the lead counsel for two of the cases, told the judges he was unwell and requested for adjournment.

The Federal Court allowed his request, while also deciding to reschedule the hearing of the three other cases as the issues raised would be the same.

The five cases will now be heard on April 2.

The five-man Federal Court panel is chaired by Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif and includes Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, Tan Sri Hasan Lah, Tan Sri Zainun Ali, Tan Sri Aziah Ali.

The two cases where Sri Ram is the lead counsel involve a 20-year-old whose birth parents are unknown and was adopted by Malaysian parents, and an eight-year-old boy who was born to a Malaysian father and Thai mother that were not legally married when he was born.

The Court of Appeal last year rejected their citizenship bids by saying they should have also shown proof that they are not citizens of other countries, and the duo now want the Federal Court to decide if the legal principle of “jus sanguinis” — where citizenship depends on the parents’ citizenship — should be used to determine if a Malaysia-born person can be a citizen. Read more

DPM: Kids have ‘blanket approval’ to attend school pending citizenship nod

Source: The Malay Mail Online

picture of DATUK SERI DR AHMAD ZAHID HAMIDI

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said those whose citizenship applications are being processed should be allowed to attend school in the meantime.— Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 11 — Children awaiting approval for Malaysian citizenship have a right to attend government schools, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.

“Following a blanket approval, the Education Ministry allows such children to attend school, while their application is being processed.

“Anyone facing problems enrolling their children should refer the case to the ministry to get it sorted,” Zahid who is also home minister told reporters after his ministry’s monthly assembly here.

He was responding to news reports of a stateless adopted seven-year-old girl who was purportedly denied entry to a school in Seremban, Negri Sembilan pending her citizenship application.

While decisions over birth certificates and such records was under the purview of the  National Registration Department (NRD) — which comes under his ministry, Zahid said those whose applications are being processed should be allowed to attend school in the meantime.

“The documents which state they have already submitted an application should be accepted by schools to enable them to have an education,” he added. Read more

Proham: Denying school for stateless children violates UN treaty signed by Malaysia

Source: Free Malaysia Today

picture of class room

Pic drawn from FMT News

Proham says as a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the government has a duty to uphold its commitment to the protection and welfare of all children.

PETALING JAYA: The Immigration Department’s policy requiring stateless children to have a passport before they can attend school is preposterous and violates an international treaty that Malaysia is part of, a rights group said in the wake of a report that a stateless child had been turned away by a school in Negeri Sembilan.

The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) said Malaysia was a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, making it the government’s duty to uphold its commitment to the protection and welfare of all children.

“Children’s rights under the convention include the right to association with both parents, human identity, physical protection, food, universal state-paid education, healthcare and the child’s civil rights,” said its chairman Kuthubul Zaman and secretary-general Ivy Josiah.

“Hence, all states being parties to the convention must ensure and guarantee these rights to each and every child irrespective of whether they are citizens, stateless or refugees.” Read more

School defied minister’s instructions, says child welfare society

Suriana Welfare Society says only education ministry can allow children to attend school without citizenship.

picture of young girl

PETALING JAYA: A children’s welfare organisation has criticised the actions of a school in Negeri Sembilan which prevented a Year One child from attending class as she did not possess a passport. Pic drawn from Free Malaysia Today

The Suriana Welfare Society, which comprises charitable and welfare organisations, said the school had defied the recent instructions given by the education minister to allow children without citizenship to attend school.

“If the minister’s instructions were taken into account and taken seriously, these children would not be in this current situation,” said the organisation’s leader, Scott J Wong.

On Jan 6, Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid said children without citizenship could attend school even though their citizenship applications were still being processed.

However, in the first week of school, a seven-year-old girl in Seremban was barred from attending based on a new policy by the Immigration Department, as she did not have a passport.

Her family had adopted her legally and was awaiting approval for the citizenship application.

Read more

Court allows three Malaysia-born boys to continue final citizenship bid

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The Palace of Justice in Putrajaya – File pix

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 11 — Three Malaysia-born children were today allowed to pursue their final bid to be recognised as citizens instead of continuing their lives as stateless persons.

The Federal Court granted leave for the three boys to proceed with their appeal against the Court of Appeal’s previous rulings to uphold the government’s decisions to deny them citizenship.

Justice Tan Sri Hasan Lah, who led the Federal Court panel today, had earlier noted that there was a Court of Appeal ruling which was different from the decision in the three cases today.

“Because there are conflicting decisions in the lower court on this issue, settle it once and for all,” he said during the hearing for leave to appeal. Read more

Plight of the ‘illegitimate’ child? — Gurdial singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

WHAT happens when a child is born out of wedlock to a Malaysian-citizen father and a foreign migrant mother who leaves the country and cannot be traced? The marriage is not registered under the relevant law. The child is, hence, considered “illegitimate”.

Is the child a citizen by operation of law? The National Registration Department refuses to recognise the child as a citizen.

Read more

They Don’t Care About Us: Statelessness in Malaysia

“They Don’t Care About Us: Statelessness in Malaysia”
DATE
17 May 2017 (Wednesday)
TIME
7.30 pm – 10.00 pm
VENUE
Prodigy, Level 6, Block 2, Brickfields Asia College (BAC) PJ Campus
VSQ @ PJ City Centre, Block 2, Jalan Utara, 46200 Seksyen 14, Selangor, Malaysia
Light refreshments will be provided.
SPEAKERS
1. Illy Kamaludin
Protection Associate (Statelessness), UNHCR Malaysia
2. Nanthini Ramalo
Commitee Member, DHRRA Malaysia
3. Syahredzan Johan
Human Rights Lawyer
Marques Jeevan Menon (Moderator)
Principal, Nation Building School
BACKGROUND
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), every 10 minutes 1 stateless child is born somewhere in the world. The prevention and resolution of childhood statelessness have become one of the key goals of UNHCR’s Global Campaign to End Statelessness by 2024.
 
Today, at least 10 million people around the world are denied a nationality. As a result, they often aren’t allowed to go to school, see a doctor, get a job, open a bank account, buy a house or even get married. Stateless people may have difficulty accessing basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. Without these things, they can face a lifetime of obstacles and disappointment. Read more about statelessness at http://www.unhcr.org/stateless-people.html.
This forum will discuss about statelessness in Malaysia from the current situation, definition, causes, consequences and potential actionables by the citizens.

Could a permanent national task force resolve Malaysia’s stateless problem?

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Human rights lawyer Honey Tan said the authorities’ discretionary nature of granting citizenship poses a 'big challenge'. — File picture by Choo Choy May

Human rights lawyer Honey Tan said the authorities’ discretionary nature of granting citizenship poses a ‘big challenge’. — File picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — The federal government should set up permanent task forces in every state in Malaysia to ensure stateless children with genuine cases are recognised as citizens, a lawyer has proposed.

Simon Siah said the federal government would from time to time announce the formation of task forces to register stateless children, but noted that these task forces are only “temporary measures” and that most people didn’t even know they exist, let alone how to approach them.

He noted that there is currently a task force in Sarawak to help register stateless children and to assist the Home Ministry by providing recommendations after the National Registration Department (NRD) officials investigate such claims, but noted it will only run until year end.

“Such move is a move in the right direction but I would suggest that the Task Force to be made permanent so that each State under the ministry of women and children can assist to ensure that genuine application are approved and these children are given an identity as a Malaysian,” he added. Read more