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All ready for school – but it’s a no-go


BUTTERWORTH: First, it was G. Dharshana. Now, it’s V. Suria.

All the 13-year-old wants is to go to school. He even has his school uniform ready. But he has not been able to do so although the new term started on Jan 2.

He has been listed as a non-citizen in his birth certificate because his late mother was an Indonesian.

He needs to get a temporary permit from the Education Department to go to school and the permit has not been issued yet.

“My friends are always telling me about what they had learnt and their activities in school, but I can only imagine it from home,” said Suria, who has enrolled in SMK Mak Mandin

“They are also always asking me if I will return to school. I tell them I do not know. Sometimes they make fun of me and say I’m a foreigner.”

He had his primary education at SJK (T) Mak Mandin with half-yearly permits from the Education Ministry. This year the permit has not been issued.

His two sisters V. Agilandaiswary, 12, and V. Thuranayagi, 11, who have been enrolled in the same school, are also facing the same predicament.

Their father, part-time electrician M. Vangadeswaran, 45, said that although he is a Malaysian citizen, his children’s birth certificates stated them as non-citizen because his name was not listed on the certificate.

“My late wife was a Hindu from Bali. She is of Indian-Chinese parentage. She died in a road accident in 2011.

Difficult situation: Vangadeswaran showing his Mykad as his children (from left) Thuranayagi, Agilandaiswary, and Suria look on at their home in Ampang Jajar, Butterworth.
Difficult situation: Vangadeswaran showing his Mykad as his children (from left) Thuranayagi, Agilandaiswary, and Suria look on at their home in Ampang Jajar, Butterworth.

“Without a valid birth certificate, a MyKid or MyKad to prove their citizenship, the three need to apply for a permit every six months to attend school.

“They have to miss part of the school term as they have to wait up to a month or even six months for the permits to be issued,” said Vangadeswaran at his house in Ampang Jajar here yesterday.

He said he and his children underwent a DNA test in 2016 which showed he is their biological father.

“I’m awaiting a court decision granting them citizenship,” he said.

“I hope someone can resolve my plight so my children can attend school like other children,” he said.

Batu Uban assemblyman Dr T. Jayabalan, who visited the family, said children should not suffer because of red tape.

“Although their father is a citizen, they still don’t have access to education. This causes unnecessary stress on the family,” he said.

Meanwhile, more cases of stateless children who have been barred from schooling have come to light.

On Thursday, seven children gathered at Penang Education Department in Jalan Bukit Gambir with their parents to seek permission for their schooling but were told to get passports to be enrolled.

The children, aged between seven and 12, were born in Malaysia, with at least one of their parents being a Malaysian.

Penang Education Department deputy director Mohd Jamil Mohamed said Vangadeswaran did not submit all the required documents.

“We urge him to visit us so that we can assist him and his children. We also want every child to attend school,” he said.

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