KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will ensure the registration of stateless children – who have one Malaysian parent – is carried out in a transparent manner, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic).
He said the state was supportive of the federal government’s move to resolve the long-standing problem.
These children were denied citizenship due to various reasons including parents failing to register their marriages, he said.
“My view is it is good because whether their mother or the father is a Sabahan, their children – who are without documents – must be helped to ensure they have access to education and other rights,” he said amid a political firestorm, mainly from the opposition, over the initiative to help the children born to one local parent.
Shafie pointed out a case of a Dusun woman, who is married to an African, was denied necessary documents or permanent resident status for their three children.
“Do you expect the authorities to send back the Dusun lady and her children to Africa?” he asked after launching the Regatta Lepa-Lepa here yesterday.
Sabah has been facing the long-standing problem of stateless children, including those whose parents were illegal immigrants.
Shafie said the state wanted both the National Registration and Immigration departments to come up with a comprehensive solution.
“How can we penalise these children? We must take a humanitarian approach,” he said.
He said all communities across the state faced the problems.
He said the opposition was trying to give the impression that the children of foreigners would be legitimised.
“I’m fighting for Sabahans,” he said when responding to opposition leader Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan’s plan to hold mass demonstration against the exercise.
“Where there is room to help Sabahans, why can’t we help them?”
Did you find this article insightful?