“Deeply troubling”: MUDA disappointed children still denied access to education due to citizenship documentation

MUDA said it is deeply troubling that a young Malaysian girl had to write to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in order to be allowed to attend school.

Expressing disappointment, the youth-based party said that despite constitutional guarantees, children are still being denied access to education due to issues with citizenship documentation.

“The Federal Constitution unequivocally emphasises that every child has the right to education. Furthermore, it provides a timeline for citizenship application for children, extending until the age of 21,” MUDA said in a statement today (Dec 28).

“No child, irrespective of their documentation status, should be deprived of this fundamental right.

“It is deeply troubling that a child such as Shivaani, who has the aspiration and right to education, is being denied this opportunity due to bureaucratic hurdles.”

MUDA went on to urge the Education Ministry to review its policies and ensure that they are in alignment with the principles enshrined in the Federal Constitution, saying an immediate resolution for Shivaani and other children facing similar challenges must be found.

“In a modern society, we must prioritise the welfare and future of our children. Discrimination based on documentation issues contradicts the very essence of our nation’s values and aspirations,” it said.

“MUDA remains committed to advocating for equal opportunities in education for all Malaysian children.”

Earlier today (Dec 28), 10-year-old Shivaani wrote a letter to the prime minister after she was denied entry to school by the Education Ministry in March this year.

According to Malaysiakini, Shivaani studied from Year One to Year Three at Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Sri Pagi in Senawang. However, the school informed the family in March of this year that Shivaani would be unable to continue in Year Four due to issues with her citizenship documentation.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Shivaani wrote:

“My name is Shivaani. I studied at Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Pagi from Year One to Year Three. This year, I can’t go to school. The teacher said I don’t have a MyKid.

“I am asking the prime minister to help me to go to school next year. Thank you, Datuk Seri.”

According to P Rajheswaran, 44, who introduced himself as Shivaani’s father, his daughter has always had a citizenship documentation problem.

“After I got married, I did not register at the National Registration Department (NRD). After my child was born in 2013, my wife separated from me.

“When I tried to get a birth certificate, the NRD said my child could not be granted citizenship status because there was no information on the mother and father.

“My name also could not be entered as the father because our marriage was not registered. So, I took the child’s birth certificate with only the mother’s name written on it,” he was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini today (Dec 28).

He said he suffered a stroke four years ago, making it difficult to leave the house to settle the citizenship issue. – Dec 28, 2023

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