Federal govt to work with Sabah to deal with stateless children issue

The Sabah Foreigners Management Committee is to be restructured to tackle outstanding issues like stateless children. (AFP pic)

BEAUFORT: The issue of stateless children in Sabah, which has been a protracted matter, should be dealt with jointly by the state and federal governments.

Commenting on the matter, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the government has the platform to address it by activating the Sabah Foreigners Management Committee.

“The main committee level is jointly chaired by the Sabah Chief Minister (Mohd Shafie Apdal) and the Home Minister (Muhyiddin Yassin).

“With this platform, we will not have overlapping roles by setting new committees to coordinate the problem,” she said when met by the media after opening the Beaufort Disaster Evacuation Centre here today.

She said there are similar problems in the peninsula but, at the same time, the government has to protect the rights of its citizens as well.

Recently, a private television station revealed a village near a rubbish dump in Sabah which was inhabited by a community which had many children who did not have citizenship.

Earlier, Wan Azizah officiated the RM5 million disaster evacuation centre for Beaufort district.

She said the centre, which was built in December 2016, was completed in June last year with various facilities such as bathrooms, surau, kitchen and an operations room.

“The relief centre will provide victims of floods, which occur frequently here, with proper shelter,” she said.

In another development, Bernama reported that the Cabinet had already approved the restructuring of the committee to address the issue of residents’ identification documentation.

Muhyiddin said the first meeting with Shafie pertaining to the committee would be held in the near future.

“I met with the chief minister this morning and we have discussed holding the meeting in the near future.

“One of the issues to be discussed is how to streamline the management of foreigners in Sabah as this problem has long been taking place in the state.

“During a meeting, we also discussed how to improve the cooperation between the state and federal governments, especially in relation to the security and well-being of the Sabahans,” he said.