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DAP wants stateless kids given their right to education

 | February 21, 2017

MP Teo Nie Ching says as long as one of the parents is Malaysian, all stateless children should be allowed to enrol in public schools.

Teo-Nie-ChingPETALING JAYA: The education ministry needs to solve the issue of stateless children being denied their right to education, says DAP.

In a statement today, the party’s assistant national publicity secretary Teo Nie Ching said as long as one of the parents was Malaysian, all stateless children should be allowed to enrol in public schools.

The Kulai MP also called on the government to simplify the enrolment process to prevent the problem from recurring.

Teo highlighted the case of 14-year-old Pang Jun Hao, whom she said had been looking forward to beginning Form 2 when he was notified that he would not be taken in by the school.

The case, reported by Oriental Daily, mirrored that of eight-year-old Tan Yao Chun who was unable to enrol in primary school as he was not considered a citizen, Teo said.

Although Tan was eventually allowed to register after the intervention of Kedah Menteri Besar Ahmad Bashah, Teo said the boy should have begun schooling at the age of seven, not eight.

She also mentioned the case of two stateless sisters, Joey and Joanne Wong, that was first brought to her attention in 2015. She said Joey was only allowed to attend primary school after Teo appealed to the education ministry. However, despite scoring 6As in her UPSR examination, Joanne is currently unable to enrol in secondary school thanks to intensified requirements by the ministry.

Teo said according to the school’s headmaster, parents must now bring their children to the state education department, along with their UPSR results, birth certificate and a letter from the principal.

All required documents were submitted on Jan 26, Teo said, but Joanne is still unable to begin secondary school.

Teo questioned the fate of children whose cases were not given media attention or highlighted by politicians.

“Up till 2016, there were 290,437 stateless children below the age of 18 in Malaysia, a number even greater than the entire population of Perlis.

“How many of these children are able to enrol into national schools, and how many are denied their basic right to education because there are no politicians or members of the media highlighting their predicament?

“The ministry of education needs to establish a set of guidelines to solve the perennial issue of stateless children being denied their right to education,” she said.


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