On the 28th of December 2017, a circular by the Immigration Department was disseminated to the Education Ministry to make it compulsory for stateless students to show their passports to be admitted into a government school.
Normally, something like this should have invoked a knee-jerk reaction by the Ministry of Education but in this matter, the ministry was silent on the new ruling, not even enquiring on it.
On the 6th of January, while on a working visit to Hulu Terengganu, Minister of Education Dato Mahdzir Khalid gave his assurance that ‘stateless children can now attend public schools, provided their application to become a Malaysian citizen have been submitted for processing, so as to ensure that these children so not miss out on the chance to be educated, just as with all other Malaysian children.
He specifically mentioned that “they should not be denied an education owing to a lack of proper documents, like a birth certificate”.
When the Minister of Education has stated clearly that these children should be allowed to study while their cases are being reviewed and their documents processed, why then are little Napoleons in the Education Department choose to abide by a ridiculous ruling issued by Home Ministry.
I phoned the Ministry of Education in Putrajaya and spoke to an officer yesterday, from Bahagian Pengurusan Sekolah Harian and was told that the ministry is ‘cracking its head’ with the new ruling by by Immigration Department.
Is this how government departments work?
Dato Zahid Hamidi as Home Minister must come clean and explain if he is aware of such a ruling by the Immigration Department and if yes, what is the rationale and justification for this absurd, idiotic ruling. He must also address the growing number of applications pending approval for citizenship, especially for babies who are now in their teens.
Dato’ Mahdzir Khalid must make it a point to weed out little Napoleons in the Ministry of Education, in schools and in State Education Departments that have proven to be major stumbling blocks in allowing children the right to education.