MO,12/1/2018, PUTRAJAYA: The Immigration Department has denied issuing a circular preventing stateless children from being enrolled in schools. Its director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali clarified that the document, which was mistakenly regarded as a circular, was actually a letter responding to questions from the Education Ministry.
“It was not a circular. Only a letter which the department sent to the ministry to answer some questions. “On Nov 28, last year, the ministry’s Daily School Management Division has sent a letter to us to clarify issues related to status of children. “In the letter, the ministry wanted to know the categories or schedule of children who were born in and outside Malaysia after the Malaysia Day, whether they require a passport or valid travel document to enrol in government schools.
“We later replied on Dec 28, explaining that foreigners born here or abroad are required to have passports; Malaysian children don’t need to have passports while children without citizenship but have applied for it are required to have passports,” he told reporters today. Mustafar stressed that the Immigration Department has nothing to do with matters involving the enrolment of students.
“That is under the Education Ministry’s jurisdiction. Whether the child is stateless or not, only the ministry can solve their enrolment issue,” he said. “In short, stateless children can still attend school as long as they have all the documents needed by the ministry,” he said. According to the Education Ministry’s circular, stateless children are allowed to enrol in any government schools with the conditions that one of the parents is Malaysian, and have obtained a confirmation or acknowledgement letter that the child is under the care of Malaysians.
Mustafar was responding to a report on Jan 9 about a seven-year old girl in Seremban, who was stopped from attending school after clearing registration with the Education Ministry. An English daily reported that the girl’s adoptive parents were believed to have been told by the Immigration Department that she required a passport in order to be enrolled at the school.