Stateless 11-year-old misses chance to represent country at chess tourney

KLANG: Benedict Phang Ray Wern wanted to represent Malaysia in an international chess championship last June.

But the 11-year-old had to give the 16th Asean+ Age Group Chess Championships 2016 a miss because of his statelessness.

Phang is not recognised as a Malaysian because he has no identification papers. Shortly after he was born, his biological parents gave him up for adoption.

“I feel sad when I realised I could not go for the championship with my teammates.

“And it upsets me even more when they won the bronze medal. It would have been a great exposure for me,” he said.

Phang’s adoptive mother Michelle Ong May Fong, 49, said she and her husband took him in two weeks after he was born in May 2005.

“He was brought to us after friends helped to spread word around that we wanted to adopt a child.

“We have never met his biological parents. We were only told that they could not afford to raise him,” said Ong.

Ong and her husband Alvin Phang Fatt Meng, 54, a landscape contractor, obtained an adoption order from the Shah Alam Sessions Court on Feb 9.
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