Non-citizen children: Schools must abide by minister’s directive, says Zahid

zahidPUTRAJAYA: All schools must abide by the education minister’s directive to take in children even if they have no citizenship documents, said the deputy prime minister.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also the home minister, said the parents of such children could refer their problem to the state education department or the ministry if any school refused to admit them.

“Whenever the minister concerned issues a directive, it must be followed by the schools. The issue of obtaining the birth certificate and other documents is for the National Registration Department (NRD) to deal with,” he told a news conference at the home ministry today.

Last Saturday, Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid said non-citizen children would be allowed to attend school while their application for citizenship was being processed.

However, when schools reopened last week, a 7-year-old adopted girl in Seremban was barred by a school because she had no passport, under a new ruling by the immigration department enforced this year.

G Darshana’s adoption had already been legalised and her application for citizenship was pending.

Zahid said the NRD had received not less than 100,000 applications for citizenship from stateless children who experienced various issues.

“They are placed under 11 categories for processing, such as pending legalisation of adoption, illegitimate children and children born overseas to a Malaysian with a foreign spouse and brought to Malaysia,” he said.

The Star reported that the education ministry has issued a special pass to Darshana to be admitted as a pupil of Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Rasah Jaya in Seremban today.

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