BUTTERWORTH: The school bell rang, signalling the start of class, and excitement soon filled the eyes of V. Agilandaiswary, 12, and her sister V. Thuranayagi, 11, in SJK (T) Mak Mandin here.
The sisters are finally back in school, resuming their studies with friends and preparing for examinations after getting their temporary permit from the Education Department.
The siblings, as well as their brother V. Suria, 13, who is now studying in SM Mak Mandin, have not been attending school since the new term started because they have been listed as “non-citizens” in their birth certificates.
Their 45-year-old father M. Vangadeswaran’s name is also not on the document.
Vangadeswaran, who is a Malaysian citizen, married an Indonesian but she died in a road accident in 2011.
Their marriage was not registered with the National Registration Department.
The family’s plight was highlighted by The Star after a press conference at their home in Ampang Jajar on Jan 13, urging the Education Ministry to expedite the issuing of the half-yearly permits to the three siblings.
“I am glad that my children can finally resume school. I now have six months until June before the permit expires to include my name on their birth certificates and register them as citizens.
“The DNA report has already been done to prove that I am their biological father and we are waiting for the court decision to grant them citizenship.
“Agilandaiswary will be sitting for her UPSR this year, but first, she will need to be a citizen,” said Vangadeswaran.
He said the temporary permits were received on Jan 15 and his three children resumed schooling the following day.
Batu Uban assemblyman Dr T. Jayabalan, who was present, said every child should be allowed to go to school.
“We should not have bureaucratic obstructions preventing children from going to school.
“Vangadeswaran and his children are born in Malaysia. They should have every right to be registered as citizens,” said Jayabalan.