KUCHING: Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah welcomes the Ministry of Education’s move to allow ‘stateless’ children to have rights to education just like any other children starting this year.
At least one good decision by the Ministry of Education (MoE) to be implemented in 2019, said Fatimah, adding credit has to be given where it is due.
Of late, the MoE has been criticised for focussing on the trivial ‘black shoe’ issue when it should have been using the time to tackle more serious issues affecting children, parents and teachers.
Under Fatimah’s ministry a special committee has been set up to assist stateless children apply for citizenship.
We received on average 30 applications per month. One of the main contributing factors is the child was born before the parents got married and the mother is a foreigner.
So as not to subject the child to be born into such predicament, couples please take measures to avoid such situation, Fatimah advised.
She said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government should give priority to citizenship application under Article 15A to shorten the waiting period for approval.
Though stateless children are now allowed to go to school it is not good for their self-esteem to be stateless, she added.
Furthermore, they still need their citizenship status for purposes such as school assistance, furthering education in tertiary institutions, application for scholarship or loans, job application, welfare assistance and so on, she added.
Schools together with the National Registration Department (JPN), parents and community leaders will need to work strategically together to bring back children who dropped out from school due to their stateless or non-citizenship status, she stressed.
Previously, stateless children were able to attend primary school because of the discretion or kindness of some school headmasters but this would not be the case when they try to enter secondary school, she said.
Source; Sarawak Government