Govt urged to relax citizenship laws

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Sungai Siput MP Michael Jeyakumar has urged the government to amend the laws that prevent the granting of citizenship to thousands of stateless children.

Speaking to FMT, he noted that most of the affected children came from marginalised working class families and the problem they faced had much to do with strict rules imposed by the government under various laws.

He said his party, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), had brought many cases to the government’s attention, “but until changes are made by those at the top, nothing can be resolved.”

Read more

The plight of the stateless in Malaysia — Eric Paulsen

Source: Free Malaysia Today

By Eric Paulsen

Of all the tragedies to befall the stateless community in Malaysia, perhaps the greatest one is that they are treated as little more than a political gimmick, a useful way to earn votes as election season swings around.

In May 2017, with the 14th General Election around the corner, MIC President Dr. S Subramaniam announced the Mega MyDaftar campaign to reach out to undocumented citizens of Indian descent. The campaign ran from 3 to 26 June 2017, and received some 2500 applications.

Whilst the initiative on its own is commendable, there are obvious questions to be asked. Why was this project launched by Dr S. Subramaniam (he is the Minister of Health) and supported by MIC when the citizenship registration exercise should be the mundane day-to-day job of the National Registration Department (NRD).

Read more

Suhakam: Stop imposing conditions on stateless kids entering schools

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has criticised the government for still imposing conditions on stateless children wanting to enter public schools.

Suhakam chief Razali Ismail said the position taken by the government is severe and detrimental to such children.

He was referring to the statement by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Jan 11 that only stateless children whose citizenship applications are pending will be allowed to enrol in government schools.

Read more

Siblings thrilled to resume school

Source: The Star

BUTTERWORTH: The school bell rang, signalling the start of class, and excitement soon filled the eyes of V. Agilandaiswary, 12, and her sister V. Thuranayagi, 11, in SJK (T) Mak Mandin here.

The sisters are finally back in school, resuming their studies with friends and preparing for examinations after getting their temporary permit from the Education Department.

The siblings, as well as their brother V. Suria, 13, who is now studying in SM Mak Mandin, have not been attending school since the new term started because they have been listed as “non-citizens” in their birth certificates.

Read more

Muslim couples, single parents seek to intervene in ‘Abdullah’ appeal

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Twenty couples and two single parents have filed an intervener application to be made parties in a Federal Court appeal that will decide whether a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock can take his or her father’s surname instead of “Abdullah”.

The applicants, who are from Johor, Melaka, Selangor, Perlis and Pahang, filed their legal papers on Dec 14 but their identities could not be revealed due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Lawyer Lokman Hakim, who is appearing for the applicants, said they wanted to participate in the case as the court’s outcome would have an effect on their children.

He said a 2003 fatwa issued by the National Fatwa Committee that an illegitimate child (“anak tak sah taraf”) should not be given the surname (“tidak boleh dinasabkan”) of the father or the person claiming to be the father was invalid.

Read more

Struggling without basic necessities

Source: The Star Online

Collecting water

Barely getting by: Gunasegaran collecting water for his daily use from a neighbour in Kampung Manis, Prai. Besides water Gunasegaran also has to tap power from electric cables attached to his neighbour’s house. Image via The Star Online

BUTTERWORTH: Despite being surrounded by development, poverty remains a problem for residents of Kampung Manis in Prai.

The 70-year-old village, previously known as Kampung Selut, is ringed by a sugar mill, a railway station and a port.

Located between Taman Inderawasih and the Prai River, its 1,000 residents live in dilapidated homes without proper sanitation or basic necessities.

Grass cutter R. Gunasegaran, 50, said his house turns into an “island” during downpours.

Gunasegaran also gets his electricity from cables connected to his neighbour’s house.

Read more

In Selangor, another stateless child awaits citizenship to attend school

Source: Written by A. Ruban for Malay Mail Online

Thevasegamani speaking at press conference

Thevasegamani (centre) speaking during a press conference in Klang, January 15, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa from Malay Mail Online

KLANG, Jan 15 — A father is at his wit’s end after the Selangor Education Department purportedly informed him that his 13-year-old daughter will not be able to attend school until she sorts out her citizenship status.

The girl’s estranged mother is an Indonesian citizen and the father, P. Thevasegamani had apparently registered her as a non-Malaysian citizen when she was born.

Thevasegamani claimed the National Registration Department (NRD) had also told him the same thing as the state education department.

But his daughter had attended public school until standard six despite having a non-Malaysian birth certificate.

“I am not sure what seems to be the problem now. My daughter was born in Klang in 2005 but because her mother is not a Malaysian citizen, we were told to register my girl as a non-Malaysian citizen.

“I paid a levy of RM120 to enrol her at a Tamil school here, but now the (state) education department is telling me get a passport for my daughter in order to go to a secondary school,” he told Malay Mail.

Read more

More stateless children turned away from school

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Stateless children

Loh Wei Hun (back row, fourth from left) with parents and seven stateless children who were asked to show passports to enrol in school. Pic taken from FMT News

GEORGE TOWN: Seven stateless children gathered at the Penang Education Department yesterday to “beg” the authorities to let them go to school, but were told to get passports in order to be enrolled.

All seven children, aged between seven and 12, were born in Malaysia, with at least one of their parents being a Malaysian.

The situation came about despite clarification from the Immigration Department, denying it had issued such a directive, and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi urging schools to admit such children. 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

Adopted girl can’t go to school

Source: The Star Online

Picture of Darshana

No entry: Darshana standing outside the school opposite her home. Pic taken from The Star Online.

SEREMBAN: While many children started their classes last week, Darshana could only watch them from the school fence.

This is as far as she could go because under a new policy by the Immigration Department, she cannot attend school.

Darshana’s parents, who adopted her when she was just a few days old, are now in limbo.

B. Ganesan said his daughter was classified as a non-citizen and due to this, could not be enrolled in any school. Read more