PUTRAJAYA, Jan 11 — Children awaiting approval for Malaysian citizenship have a right to attend government schools, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
“Following a blanket approval, the Education Ministry allows such children to attend school, while their application is being processed.
“Anyone facing problems enrolling their children should refer the case to the ministry to get it sorted,” Zahid who is also home minister told reporters after his ministry’s monthly assembly here.
He was responding to news reports of a stateless adopted seven-year-old girl who was purportedly denied entry to a school in Seremban, Negri Sembilan pending her citizenship application.
While decisions over birth certificates and such records was under the purview of the National Registration Department (NRD) — which comes under his ministry, Zahid said those whose applications are being processed should be allowed to attend school in the meantime.
“The documents which state they have already submitted an application should be accepted by schools to enable them to have an education,” he added.
Zahid said the NRD received no fewer than 100,000 applications for the MyKid identity cards — which are issued to Malaysian children — adding that there may be reasons for delays in the approval process in some cases.
“Some of the more common reasons which cause delays are applications involving children born out of wedlock, those whose adoption process has yet to finalised.
“There are also cases where the foreign spouses of local men gave birth abroad and later returned to Malaysia,” he said.
The Seremban girl, known as Darshana, was adopted by lorry driver B. Ganesan, 46, and wife V. Malliga, 48, just days after she was born here in November 2011.
The couple were recognised as her legal guardians when their adoption was legally completed in 2015 as the identity and whereabouts of her biological parents are reportedly unknown.
She was initially denied enrolment into school as she lacked a proper passport, after being classified as a non-citizen following the lack of information about her biological parents.
However, The Star reported today that Darshana is now allowed to attend school after being granted a special pass from the Education Ministry.