MOST of us can only imagine what it is like to be a non-citizen and categorised as stateless.
Mathias, 20, (not his real name) scored 4A+ and 5As in his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia. He has completed his A-Levels and got all As too. He has always been good in academics and dreams of becoming a doctor.
But lack of citizenship can stop Mathias from achieving his ambition.
“My parents adopted me and my two older biological brothers. Both my brothers managed to obtain citizenship but I haven’t been able to so far.
“I want to become a doctor and give my best to this country. This is my home. I want to be able to lead a normal life and help those like me in the future.
“I hope the government will help me so that my dream can come true, ” said Mathias who has been a straight-A student all his life.
Because of his status, he has not been able to get a driver’s licence or travel far from his home state of Melaka.
Ruby Chew Lui Yi, 22, is good in squash and has a sports science degree. She was on the dean’s list as an undergraduate.
Her education was funded by her adoptive parents and she also took part-time jobs during her studies to make ends meet.
“To earn a living, I conduct personal fitness and squash coaching while also helping my mother sell cakes and cookies online.
“I rely on her for banking matters as I cannot open an account.
“I also want to pursue a master’s degree but since I cannot obtain a bank loan or scholarship, it feels like a distant dream, ” she said.
She is unable to fly even within the country to attend squash workshops because she has no identity card.
“Forget about traveling overseas. I have lost good work opportunities because I cannot travel by air and drive, ” said Chew.
She worries about the future if she decides to settle down and start a family.
“I cannot legally get married. This is something I try not to think about too much, ” said Chew who was handed to her adoptive parents by a nanny.
She is looking for the nanny so she can get details of her biological parents, and hopefully obtain citizenship.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Aiman Hafizi Ahmad, 20, is unable to represent the country overseas in e-sports because of his stateless status.
He cannot compete internationally and this has deprived him from earning a good living through the sport.
“I want to venture into the e-sport business too but without citizenship, it is impossible.
“How am I to start a business without a bank account or driving licence?” asked Muhammad Aiman who is among the top e-sport players in the country.
He was adopted at the age of two and does not know who his biological parents are.
“I don’t have an identity card, only a birth certificate which states that I am not a citizen. I am always fearful when out alone because I don’t have a MyKad, ” he said.
All three youths said they got depressed whenever they thought about their uncertain future.
They fear for their future once their parents were no longer around.
They hope the authorities would grant citizenship to children of Malaysian adoptive parents.
“We cannot move ahead and excel in life because of this problem.
“Some of us have been told, by the authorities, to locate our biological parents but that is near impossible because they dumped us as babies and most of the time they did so anonymously.
“Being stateless makes us feel unwanted again, ” said Chew.
According to Welfare Department (JKM), there are 1,897 children up until June this year in the homes it manages. Of this number, 96 of the children are without citizenship.
Based on a statement from JKM, the adoption process of children in Malaysia is under the jurisdiction of Home Ministry (KDN) through the National Registration Department (NRD).
This is in accordance with the Adoption Registration Act 1952 [Act 253] and the Adoption Act 1952 [Act 257].
The adoption forms do not distinguish applications for children who are citizen or with non-citizen status.
Accordingly, the NRD does not restrict any applications made by Malaysian couples to adopt children who are not citizen.
For children with non-citizen status, adoptive parents can submit citizenship application for their child through the National Registration Department, said the spokesman.
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