JOHOR BARU: The Immigration Department should not be dragged in the issue of stateless children having problems enrolling in public schools in the country, said Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.
The Deputy Home Minister said it was the responsibility of the Education Ministry to solve the matter as it was under their jurisdiction.
He said the issue of stateless children being denied education at public schools in Malaysia should not arise at all.
"This is not a new issue and I don't understand why it resurfaced again and attracted attention from all parties," Nur Jazlan said in a press conference on Friday (Jan 12).
He said this after attending the seventh anniversary of Persatuan Kebajikan Anak Minang Negeri Johor at Kompleks Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat here.
Nur Jazlan said the Education Ministry should have issued clear guidelines to schools when handling cases of stateless children.
"The Immigration Department does not make decision whether stateless children should be allowed to enrol in school," he said.
G. Darshana was recently denied enrolment in a public school last week due to her non-citizen status.
The seven-year-old was taken in by her legal adoptive parents when she was just a few days old.
The Immigration Department had, through a circular dated Dec 28, told all schools that non-citizen children would have to produce a passport before being allowed to enrol in a government school.
This left many children, including some who have studied in public schools for years, in limbo.
Malaysian Civil Society president Andrew Raju had appealed to the Education Ministry to waive the RM120 annual fee that non-citizens like Darshana are required to pay to enrol in government primary schools.
“Darshana has been legally adopted and is awaiting her citizenship papers.
“The fee should only be imposed on non-citizens with passports and whose parents are foreigners here,” he said on Thursday (Jan 11).
Prime Minister's Department Special Implementation Task Force manager G.K. Anandan said non-citizen and stateless children who have been unable to enrol in government schools since the beginning of the new term last week will be able to do so in the next few days.
Anandan, who is also special officer to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, said parents and guardians of these children should not be worried as the Government is committed to ensuring that all children have access to basic education.
Anandan helped register Darshana at the state Education Department in Seremban before she was allowed to enrol at SK Taman Rasah jaya.