Uncertainty over citizenship obstacle to adoption, say parents


  • Metro News
  • Thursday, 13 Aug 2020

Adoptive parents and their stateless children often meet to discuss ways to resolve the issue concerning their loved ones.

MALAYSIANS will refrain from adopting children if they are not given citizenship.

This is the view of parents who have been trying to secure citizenship for their adopted children for several years.

In July last year, several of them attended a closed-door meeting at the Home Ministry in Putrajaya.

They had urged the government to grant citizenship to children if either parent was Malaysian regardless of marital status and whether the child was born in the country.

This, they said, would ensure abandoned children were protected.

These parents are hoping for positive outcomes from the meeting.

Maria (not her real name) said she adopted her daughter from a welfare home as a newborn.

“My husband and I could not have children of our own. We decided to adopt a baby legally.

“We were told that we could obtain citizenship later. She is 10 years old now and is still not a citizen.

“Travelling by plane within the country is troublesome.

“We hope there will be a standard operating procedure that will enable stateless children to travel within Malaysia,” said Maria.

Her daughter is doing well in school and dreams of becoming a doctor.

Tina (not her real name) said her adopted daughter was now nine and top in her class.

“She has been asking us a lot of questions and does not know she is adopted.

“I was upset that my daughter was told that she could not represent her school at a spelling bee competition because she did not have an identity card.

“The teachers should have been more sensitive and clarified any doubts about my child’s status with me,” said Tina who is in her mid-60s.

“I have two biological children who are much older than my adopted child and I want this stateless issue to be resolved before I pass away,” said Tina.

Rupert (not his real name)

pointed out that there was gender discrimination in the awarding of citizenship.“My eldest son was born before I lawfully registered my marriage. I am a Malaysian-Chinese and my wife is a Filipina. Due to the delay in registering my marriage, my son hasn’t obtained his citizenship because of his illegitimate status.

“However, my second son who was born after marriage so he is a citizen.

“When a Malaysian mother is not married and has a baby, the child is given citizenship. The same does not apply to fathers. This is unfair,” he said.

Rupert said he would fight for his eldest son’s rights for as long as he lived.

“He is my biological son and I am Malaysian. He should not be deprived of a bright future because of archaic laws,” he opined.

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