How to reduce stateless numbers in Sabah

Source: Free Malaysia Today

There are many stateless children in Sabah of Filipino or Indonesian descent who are unable to access basic rights like education and healthcare. Advocates for Non-discrimination and Access to Knowledge (ANAK) calls for the easing of conditions for citizenship. Image from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: A human rights NGO has urged the government to grant citizenship to every stateless child in Sabah who has a Malaysian parent, even if the other parent is a foreigner and if the child was born out of wedlock.

Denying citizenship to stateless children means denying them basic rights like education and healthcare which, in turn, means denying them the opportunity to do good for society, according to the founder of Advocates for Non-discrimination and Access to Knowledge (ANAK), Anne Baltazar.

Speaking to FMT, Baltazar also called for the removal of citizenship requirements not listed in the Federal Constitution. Read more

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

Give Stateless Kids A Future, Lawyers Group Tells Government

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty has urged the home ministry to resolve the problem of stateless children as their futures are at stake.

Human rights lawyer N Surendran said such cases had been occurring for a long time, yet nothing had been done.

Speaking at a press conference on the wrongful denial of citizenship to young Malaysians, he said there were many children who were born in Malaysia but had been denied their fundamental rights by the government, including the National Registration Department (JPN) and the home ministry.

“Under the Federal Constitution, the children are entitled to citizenship, but their rights have been denied.

“The authorities have breached the law by not following the provision under the Federal Constitution,” he said today. Read more

Double celebration for those granted citizenship

Source: The Star

KUCHING: It will be a double celebration this Chinese New Year for Kueh Meng Liang as he was finally granted citizenship after seven years of waiting.

The 19-year-old had submitted his first application in 2011 but was rejected by the National Registration Department.

Over the years, Meng Liang resubmitted again several more times but all his applications were unsuccessful due to absence of supporting documents.

One of the reasons was that the teenager never knew who his biological parents were.

They left him under the care of his 70-year-old grandmother before he was adopted by Kueh Siak Hock.

Read more

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

Sabah police rubbish report on child warriors

Source: Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah police commissioner Ramli Din has dismissed a report that stateless children born in Sabah had left and joined thousands of “child warriors” during the Marawi war in southern Philippines last year.

The report, by the Manila Times, had cited an unnamed source as saying that “some Sabah-born stateless Muslim children of Filipino descent returned to the Philippines through the porous borders of Mindanao” and fought in Marawi.

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