SEREMBAN: While many children started their classes last week, Darshana could only watch them from the school fence.
This is as far as she could go because under a new policy by the Immigration Department, she cannot attend school.
Darshana’s parents, who adopted her when she was just a few days old, are now in limbo.
B. Ganesan said his daughter was classified as a non-citizen and due to this, could not be enrolled in any school.
“When we went to a government school opposite our home to register Darshana, we were told that due to her status, she must have a passport before she could be accepted.
“How are we to get her a passport when we have no idea who or where her parents are?” said the lorry driver.
Ganesan said his wife V. Malliga had suffered three miscarriages over the past 11 years.
“We badly wanted to have a child and when a friend alerted us that there was a baby girl up for adoption, we jumped at the offer,” he said.
“She was born in November 2011 and after four years, we managed to adopt her legally and welcome her into our home with prayers.”
Ganesan, 46, said he and his wife were happy to see their names appearing in the birth certificate as her parents.
“She was listed as bukan warganegara (non-citizen) but we did not foresee any problem then. We have also submitted an application for citizenship, which is still pending,” he said.
Malliga, 48, said Darshana got up early every day and would insist that she sent her to school. “When she sees other children going to school, she will cry and ask why she is unable to.
“She would also stare at her school uniform and other schooling items,” she said, adding that they could not afford to send Darshana to a private school.
Malaysian Public Service Society president Andrew Raju, who accompanied the couple to the state Immigration office to verify the school’s claim, said he was told that the new ruling came into force this year.
“The Immigration officer told me that all children who are non-citizens must get a passport from their respective missions.
“But how are the couple to get that document since they don’t even know who her biological parents are?” asked the lawyer.
Raju said the new ruling might affect many Malaysian children under the non-citizen category. “Does this ruling also include babies born to Malaysian parents but were left in baby hatches or abandoned?” he asked.
Raju said since Malaysia was a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, depriving one of basic education was improper.