APRIL 13 — The Children’s Commissioner (CC), Prof. Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal welcomes the recent announcement by the Sarawak Minister of Women, Childhood, Community Well-Being Development, Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah on the decision to issue temporary documentation to stateless children.

The issuance of such documentation purportedly aims to enable stateless children in Sarawak to access public schools and medical services at the same fee rate as Malaysian citizens.

This move marks a major administrative shift in favour of stateless children. Since its inception, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) has received numerous complaints related to statelessness, including delays in school admissions, denied admission, steep education and medical costs.

These are contrary to Malaysia’s international obligation as a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to ensure that all institutions make the best interest of children a primary consideration in all actions.

According to Section 28 of the CRC, Malaysia is obliged to ensure all children in Malaysia, including the undocumented children are able to access free education.

According to Section 28 of the CRC, Malaysia is obliged to ensure all children in Malaysia, including the undocumented children are able to access free education. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
According to Section 28 of the CRC, Malaysia is obliged to ensure all children in Malaysia, including the undocumented children are able to access free education. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

The 8th Prime Minister of Malaysia Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has previously stated on the May 15, 2021 that education should be made available to all children.

The 9th Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri has also previously stated in his speech at the 2021 World Children’s Day on the November 17, 2021 that each child has the right to proper education and a conducive environment to grow up, achieve their full potential and chase their dreams

The CC implores the Federal Government to cooperate with the Sarawak Government in their progressive efforts by ensuring that education and health authorities recognises the temporary documentation.

In addition to violations of their right to a nationality, stateless persons are often subject to many other human rights violations and thus, the CC appeals to the Federal Government to adopt the same measure to be implemented to all states.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.