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MOE must have a consistent policy on stateless children’s enrolment into school

Press statement by MP for Kulai, Teo Nie Ching on 2 February 2021:

Stateless Children in Penang are being denied enrolment into government school

I was approached by DHHRA last night and came to know that at least 6 stateless children in Penang are denied education as they were denied enrolment into government school.

In accordance with circular KPM.100 -1/7/2 JLD.4(61) issued by Ministry of Education Malaysia, ‘non citizen’ children…

Posted by DHRRA Malaysia on Monday, February 1, 2021

I raised this issue in Parliament last year, 16 December 2020 to be precise, when I came across a similar instance in Johor. A kid named “ET” was adopted by Malaysian parents, however he was asked by Johor Education Department (Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri Johor) to show his student pass. It was impossible for ET to obtain a student pass from Immigration Department as he would need to show his foreign passport in order to apply for a student pass.

Sidang Media di Parlimen @ 16 Disember, 2020 (1) Hannah Yeoh: Parlimen tidak lagi menjadi tempat untuk mendapatkan jawapan bagi isu rakyat; dan (2) Teo Nie Ching: Kanak-Kanak “stateless” perlu dapat Pas Pelajar untuk diterima di sekolah kerajaan.

Posted by Teo Nie Ching (张念群) on Tuesday, 15 December 2020

In this case, as both of his adoptive parents are Malaysians and his application for citizenship is still pending for Home Ministry’s approval, he obviously does not have any foreign passport and therefore was unable to produce a student pass. 

I then decided to write to the Education Minister in December 2020 and obtained a reply. MOE said that ET can study in our government school and there is no need for him to show his passport or student pass. ET was then allowed to enroll into government school in early January 2021. 

I am shocked to know that similar discrimination against these innocent children is happening again in Penang. It seems like MOE does not have a consistent policy. Or are there are influential little Napoleons undermining the authority of the Minister of Education, or is this caused by ignorant officers who do not understand the policy. Whichever the case, MOE should rectify the issue immediately and allow stateless children who are adopted by Malaysian parents or whose biological parents are Malaysians to study in government schools. 

This is a simple policy that goes to support the most basic and fundamental principle that the Ministry of Education upholds, i.e. effective access to education indiscriminately and if the Ministry fails here then I urge the Ministry of Education to reflect on their priorities again.

Teo Nie Ching
MP for Kulai

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