KUCHING: A standard operating procedure (SOP) for adoption in Sarawak is expected to be drawn up to facilitate the process of adopting a child.
Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said the State Attorney-General’s office would hold a workshop to come up with the SOP.
She said at present, the procedure sometimes differed from one district to another as it came under the purview of district officers.
“We need to have an SOP in place so that it is the same and any couple who want to adopt children will know the procedure they need to follow.
“We are grateful to the SAG’s office because they are going to do this. With that, we hope that the process of adoption will be standardised,” she told a press conference after chairing a special committee meeting on stateless persons here.
Fatimah said the SOP would also help to reduce citizenship status problems among adopted children by ensuring that the adoption process was done properly.
“One reason why citizenship problems occur is in the case of adopted children whereby the adoption procedures are not adhered to,” she said.
She explained that the adoption process had to be completed first before the adoptive parents could apply for citizenship for the child.
“If adoption is not done first, there is no basis for applying for citizenship. There must be a connection between the parents, who must be citizens themselves, and their adopted child,” she added.
Fatimah also said the state National Registration Department (NRD) and Education Department would carry out an outreach programme at SK Bukit Balai in Sebauh near Bintulu to help schoolchildren obtain birth certificates and identity cards.
She said this was part of the strategic cooperation between both departments to tackle the issue of children without personal documents.
According to Fatimah, the departments identified 1,297 children who did not have documents and faced citizenship problems.
Checks showed that out of this number, 687 were actually citizens, 79 non-citizens, 96 with undetermined status and 435 with incomplete information.
“The NRD and Education Department are working together to sort out the parents’ documents,” she said.
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