PH would simplify process of granting citizenship to stateless children if resume power

The government of the day has shown no interest or political will to resolve the matter of stateless children. The plight of stateless children was “appalling”, as they have to file legal actions and be dragged through a series of appeals simply to obtain the basic right of citizenship. Pakatan Harapan would simplify the process of granting citizenship to the stateless children once taking over Putrajaya.

According to Buku Harapan, the Pakatan Harapan National Manifesto for the GE14, it contains pledge to the Indian community to resolve the issues surrounding stateless Indians within 100 days once resume power.

The pledge should be extended to other communities. Especially there are numbers of “late registration” cases for our own natives in the remote area in Sabah and Sarawak.

There are about 300,000 stateless children in Malaysia. They include those who were:

  • abandoned at birth;
  • unable to trace their birth parents;
  • whose parents – one of whom may be a foreigner – failed to register their marriage.

According to statistics provided by Home Ministry, from 2012 to 2017, 15,394 children born in Malaysia were denied citizenship even their fathers are Malaysia citizens. In nutshell, there are 8 children born without citizenship everyday.

They are unable to attend school if they fail to produce their passports following the circular issued by the Immigration Department in December last year. Not only that, they cannot apply for passport and driving license. They are imposed full medical charges as they are non-citizens. How could they earn a decent job if they have so many challenges in their life?

In fact, there is no provision under the Federal Constitution that expressly states that the marriage of a child’s parents must be officially registered to qualify them for citizenship. Part II of the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution says that “every person born within the Federation whose parents, or one at least, is at the time of the birth either a citizen of permanent resident in the Federation are citizens by operation of law.”

Children should not be victimized due to their parents’ careless and mistake. There were near to 50,000 foreigners granted Malaysian citizenship in between 2008 to 2015, including the Sarawak Governor’s wife. If Malaysian government can give citizenship to foreigners, why can’t we grant citizenship to the our own citizen’s children?

The government should simplify the process of granting citizenship to these stateless children, as they are all children of Malaysian citizens. Citizenship should be granter when the fathers produce DNA report, or have legally adopted the children.

If the government of the day doesn’t care about the stateless children, vote for change and Pakatan Harapan would resolve the issues based on humanitarian ground.

Chan Foong Hin
Media statement by Chan Foong Hin in Kota Kinabalu on Sunday, 1st April 2018