“No child will be turned away” — Stateless children in S’wak who applied for citizenship can attend school in March

Fatimah (left) talking to reporters following the courtesy call from Gloria and Hendy at Bangunan Baitulmakmur 2 in Kuching today (Feb 22, 2023).

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Feb 22: Sarawak Minister for Women, Childhood, and Community Wellbeing Development (KPWK) Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah has announced that stateless children in Sarawak will be able to attend school beginning next month by using the reference number provided by the National Registration Department (JPN).

Fatimah told reporters this after receiving a courtesy call today from the new Malaysian Ambassador to Brazil, Gloria Corina Tiwet, and Malaysian Ambassador to the Holy See, Hendy Assan, at Bangunan Baitulmakmur 2 here.

“Starting from the new school term this March, stateless children can be accepted at school by using the reference number given by JPN when they applied for citizenship.

“I have received two letters from our Home Minister, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, addressed to the directors of the State Education Department and the State Health Department.

“This is the outcome of our courtesy call on the Home Minister on Jan 17, where we brought up the problems that are faced by the stateless children,” she said.

She pointed out these letters would enable the children to receive an education.

“So no child will be turned away because they are stateless or because their citizenship status has not been determined.

“As long as the child has applied for citizenship and possesses the reference number, it will serve as his or her identification document,” she highlighted.

Additionally, Fatimah disclosed that her ministry would provide 75 stateless children with temporary documents prior to the start of the new school year next month.

“This is a Sarawak-level initiative that will allow children to enter school with a personal identification document and access to health services at government clinics,” she disclosed.

She added that Saifuddin had agreed to reactivate the Special Committee for Citizenship under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution, which would expedite the processing of applications from stateless children in Sarawak.

“He (Saifuddin) also mentioned that he will sit on the committee with us, meaning the speed of approval or otherwise will be very fast. And this is what we want,” Fatimah added. — DayakDaily