KUCHING: The Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) is calling on the government to fast-track citizenship approval for stateless children following the naturalisation of Kosovan-born footballer Liridon Krasniqi (pic) last week.
SWWS president Margaret Bedus said stateless children faced a greater need for citizenship as without it, they could not pursue their education or apply for jobs.
"Granting citizenship to Krasniqi has shown that where there is a need for talent and political will, Malaysia can bestow citizenship on people even when the usual criteria do not apply.
"While welcoming Krasniqi to the fold, we call for the same political will to fast-track all children in Malaysia without such crucial documentation," she said in a statement on Monday (Feb 10).
Krasniqi received his MyKad in Putrajaya on Feb 3, about five years after making his debut with Kedah in the M-League.
Margaret also called on the federal and state governments to work together to resolve the "major problem" of stateless children in Sarawak.
She said the state's special committee, set up in Oct 2016 to move the issue forward, lost its working relationship with the federal government when it was discontinued last July.
"A new improved system was promised by December 2019 but it is already February and nothing has been announced; no special committee nor SOP (standard operating procedures) on expediting applications for stateless children.
"It is crucial the federal and state governments work together, as happened earlier, if we are to resolve this complex issue," she said.
Margaret added that Sarawak needed a transparent, effective and efficient system to process undocumented children who were scattered across a large state, where lack of access to government services due to cost and distance was part of the problem.
She said this could only be achieved by cooperation across federal and state agencies.
"For this to work smoothly, federal and state politicians from across the political divide need to collaborate for the wellbeing of the children.
"The children and their parents need a local and national system working in harmony, so we call on all politicians to re-establish such a framework speedily.
"Who knows, one of the children could one day play for our national football team," she said.
Did you find this article insightful?