Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed announced in Kluang that parents who fail to register their children within 60 days after their birth will be fined RM1,000 compared with only RM50 previously.
Even though he later clarified that the increase of fine is only imposed in Peninsular and not Sabah and Sarawak, the amount of increase is still exorbitant and might increase the numbers of stateless children.
Registration of births is no doubt very important. However, National Registration Department must first do an analysis to find out the reason behind late registration. Was it laziness? Irresponsibility? Illiteracy? Or poverty? Because if illiteracy and/or poverty are the reason behind late registration, imposing a higher penalty is not going to solve the problem.
PH Wanita cares about the future of our children, and we also condemn those irresponsible parents who take the duty to register their children lightly. However, what would happen to the children whose parents cannot afford to pay the fine of RM1000? Will the registration be rejected completely and render these children stateless?
In November last year, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed that there are 290,437 stateless children in Malaysia who are below the age of 18. A number larger than the population of Perlis. We do not want to see more children of Malaysians to join them.