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Teo: Simplify process of granting citizenship to stateless kids

 | June 8, 2017

Kulai MP says government should not make children victims due to their parents’ carelessness and mistakes.


PETALING JAYA: DAP assistant national publicity secretary Teo Nie Ching has called on the government to immediately simplify the process of granting citizenship to stateless children.

She said according to a parliamentary written reply by the home minister, between 2012 and January 2017, 15,394 children born in Malaysia were denied citizenship even though their fathers were Malaysian citizens.

“This translates into eight children born without citizenship every day,” Teo said in a statement today.

The Kulai MP said Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed last year that there were 290,437 stateless children who were below the age of 18.

She said Part II of the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution states that, “every person born within the Federation of whose parents one at least is at the time of the birth either a citizen or permanent resident in the Federation are citizens by operation of law”.

“So clearly, there is no provision in the Federal Constitution that expressly states that the marriage of a child’s parents must be officially registered to qualify for citizenship.

“The government must realise that stateless children endure a lot of hardship and inconvenience,” Teo said.

She cited the case of eight-year-old Tan Yao Chun, who was unable to attend school early this year because he was not considered a citizen.

Although the boy eventually was able to enrol in a primary school after his plight was highlighted by the media, Tan lost a year of schooling due to the shortcomings of the system, said Teo.

She also highlighted the plight of 14-year-old Pang Jun Hao from Kuala Lumpur, who was suddenly notified that he could not start his Form Two studies due to problems with his citizenship.

“Even if these children are taken in by the school, they cannot enjoy free education like other Malaysian students as they are not entitled to the Textbook Loan Scheme,” she said.

“Only a handful has the opportunity to go to public universities, as they need to pay foreign student rates and cannot apply for the PTPTN education loan,” she added.

Teo said these stateless children had to suffer a lot of hardship as the government imposed full medical charges on non-citizens. She also said stateless children were unable to apply for a passport and driving licence.

“With all these challenges, these children will have great difficulty to excel in life and will also have problems getting a decent job.”

She said these children should not be made victims due to their parents’ carelessness and mistakes, and reiterated her call for the government to simplify the process of granting citizenship to them.


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