SIK: All stateless children in Kedah, aged seven and above, will be allowed to enrol in public schools in the state.
Announcing this today, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah said state Education Committee chairman Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zin will be holding a briefing session with all district education offices (PPDs) in the state on the matter soon.
The decision came one day after the New Straits Times had highlighted the plight of seven-year-old Tan Yao Chun from Changlun, who was unable to attend school as his Malaysian father did not register his birth with the Malaysian embassy in Thailand.
Ahmad Bashah said the boy’s predicament was discussed in the state executive council meeting today.
“We were informed by Tajul during the meeting that the Education Ministry has given its permission for stateless children to be accepted in all public schools, and that he will be calling all the PPDs to brief them on this matter soon,” he told a press conference here today.
Ahmad Bashah said it was unfair for stateless children to be denied access to education as it was not their fault that their parents failed to register their birth.
“However, the parents or legal guardians of the stateless children must proceed with the registration at the National Registration Department (NRD) as soon as possible so that the children in question can sit for major examinations,” he said.
Yesterday, the NST had published a front-paged report on Tan's predicament, as he could not enrol at a vernacular school as he is deemed stateless.
It was reported that the boy was born on Aug 29, 2009 at the Hatyai City Hospital to a Malaysian father and a Myanmar national mother.
However, his father had failed to register the boy's birth at the Malaysian embassy in Thailand, resulting in the NRD being unable to issue his birth certificate here.
His grandmother has since filed an application for his birth certificate with the state NRD, which is still being processed by the department.