Archive for the ‘Kids on the streets.’ Category

When they turn 18: Work option for street kids

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Kota Kinabalu: Street children making a nuisance of themselves in the State may soon be put to work, if above 18.

Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad said these children will be rounded up along with beggars, loafers and those mentally unsound in an integrated operation from as early as this week.

“Instead of bringing in more foreign workers to work in our State as construction or plantation labourers, we thought it would be better to hire them instead,” she said after a meeting on these issues here Monday.

“We must consider what we are going to do with these street children as soon as they turn 18? And besides, they have also learnt to speak our language and understand our culture well.”

In the same vein Jainab pointed out this was not going to be a prelude to making them citizens.

“Most of the street children do not have any legal documents with them and are considered stateless. Therefore, the meeting we had earlier was to discuss ways to solve this problem,” she said, adding that both the Filipino and Indonesian governments have refused to accept them.

“Most of them are born here and they have been around here for most their lives. They have also learnt and understand our culture,” she said.

“Based on our statistics, there are 50, 000 Filipino street children and 150, 000 Indonesian street children from June 2007 to December 2014…we are not even sure if the number is precise…who knows? It could be more than that.

“I’m very worried that these street children will be involved in social problems such as drugs or become victims of human trafficking or end up being kidnapped. They might also end up being professional beggars and this would be an eyesore especially to tourists.

“Besides, we must also take into account the locals’ welfare because there are some cases whereby these stateless people got married with the locals and do not have any marriage certificates. This will definitely be an issue because how can their children be issued birth certificates?

“There are also cases whereby some of them happened to enter Sabah legally for work purposes but as soon as their documents expire, they will flee and we consider them illegal immigrants,” Jainab said.

Therefore, she said they have decided to form a committee to discuss and come up with working papers and once this is completed, they will bring it forward to the Chairman of the Technical Management Committee on Foreigners cum Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

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Abandoned children find themselves without a state

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

PETALING JAYA: Most orphaned or abandoned children who live in welfare homes are considered stateless because they don’t have citizenship.

Vijayakumari Pillai, who was formerly attached to the Social Welfare Department (JKM) explained that Malaysia is very strict when it comes to citizenship as it is based on the nationality of their biological parents.
She, however, pointed out that it was almost impossible for abandoned children to know who their parents were.
“It would be quite difficult to prove their parents were Malaysian and they will not get citizenship. Legally, they are stateless as they don’t belong to this country or any other country,” she said.
She said they could keep appealing the decisions if the National Registration Department (NRD) turned down their applications for citizenship.
She said that the children could get a MyKad when they turned 12, although it would be without a citizenship status (blue IC).
This made it difficult for them, as there were certain things they could not do such as apply for bank loans or a passport, said Vijayakumari.
“I know one 36-year-old lady who is doing well but can’t get a loan to buy a house because she can’t get citizenship,” she said.
She also said that they would have to pay a fee every time they went to a government hospital, whereas citizens paid a nominal fee at the most.
Having worked on such cases for 33 years, Suhakam commissioner James Nayagam is frustrated that the issue has not been resolved.
He said that even abandoned babies brought up in government welfare homes don’t get citizenship.

Second learning centre for stateless children

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

SANDAKAN: The Ministry of Education in collaboration and support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has set up its second learning centre for stateless and paperless children in Sabah.

The first centre is in Kg Numbak in Menggatal, Kota Kinabalu while the second opened yesterday is located in Kg Bahagia, near here.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap who opened the learning centre said the government with Unicef and the Federal Special Task Force (FSTF) have found a need to set up such learning centre, which focuses on reading, writing and counting apart from skill education, religious and moral studies, and general knowledge on Malaysia.

“The government realized that these children could not meet the conditions for them to be enrolled in government schools to receive formal education.

“However, this alternative education for them will give them an insight and experience on the importance of receiving education,” she said.

According to her, the ministry carried out a study in 2009 to obtain accurate information on these children.

“From the study, we found that among the main reasons, they could not receive education was due to the absence of proper documents whether they are citizens or not,” she said.

Subsequently, the ministry issued a circular to allow Malaysian children who do not have complete documents to study in government schools and government-aided schools.

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‘Stateless folk in Sabah, Sarawak won’t be left out’.

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has  reaffirmed its commitment to address the issue of stateless people in Sabah and Sarawak, after it was raised by several Barisan Nasional and opposition members of parliament yesterday.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he had recently met the chief ministers of both states to discuss giving those without citizenship a certain status to ensure that they were not neglected.

“We have agreed in principle to give power to the states to allow the heads of villages or longhouses to help the states’ registration departments verify the marriage status of the people there, so we can contemplate giving them the appropriate identification.”

He said this would be carried out in Sarawak, but the move would be suspended in Sabah until the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants had completed its probe.

“In Sarawak, we have already begun our outreach programme and engaged with the representatives there to find out about such cases.

“We want to ensure that those without citizenship, especially children, do not miss out on education and government aid.”

Earlier, Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said there were 15 applications for citizenship in his constituency that had not received any response from the government for more than five years.

“There are many children in Sabah and Sarawak who study hard and get excellent results, but cannot enter university because of their citizenship status.

“Is the government planning to address this issue and (if so) when?”

Wan Junaidi said he would look into the matter.

Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen asked why the number of red MyKad holders in Sarawak in 2010 was only 693, but last year, it had increased to 2,762.

‘Status’ for stateless in Sabah

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: The stateless in Sabah will be given a ‘status’ finally to avoid social complications in the future.

Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who disclosed this yesterday, said that it would also ensure that these people are in the system should they get involved in crime activities.

“We are doing this on humanitarian grounds because they too deserve a certain status.

“For instance, a six-year-old today will be 20 in the next 14 years. What will happen to them if they do not possess birth certificate, identity card (IC) or any kind of documentations? We cannot send them to their countries of origin because they were born and grew up here … they cannot stay stateless.

“We have to realise this now, otherwise it will be a social problem in the future. They deserve to be given some kind of documentation and a status,” Wan Junaidi told reporters after a courtesy visit to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman at the Sri Gaya here yesterday.

He said that all babies borne in Malaysia are eligible for a birth certificate, but stressed that it does not automatically award one the Malaysian citizenship.

“We will divide them into two categories – citizen and non-citizen. Their status, whether they will be awarded citizenship or not, will be determined later (when they apply for the ICs),” he said.

The IC is divided into three colours, namely MyKad for citizens, and red and green. Red IC holders are non-Malaysian permanent residents, while green IC holders are non-Malaysian temporary residents.

“On whether the red and green IC holders will be given the Malaysian citizenship will only be determined when we reach the bridge and cross it. They will have to meet certain criteria such as having a clean backgrounds, avoid involving in crime and have shown their loyalty to the country,” said Wan Junaidi.

by Sandra Sokial.

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Findings on street kids kept under wraps – sociologist.

Friday, May 31st, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: A sociologist yesterday suggested stateless street kids be given some kind of status so that they can be recognized as part of the community.

“This would attract less objection from the local communities while at the same time help towards addressing the issue of stateless children in Sabah,” said Prof Dr Kntayya A/L Mariapan from Universiti Malaysia School’s School of Sociology when testifying in the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah.

He stressed that while directly giving immigrant children citizenship would draw strong objection from the local communities, a middle way was needed to be taken to address the issue.

Dr Kntayya, who appeared before the Commission as an expert witness, said these children could pose social threats if they continued to be rejected by the community as the chances of them getting involved in criminal activities such as prostitution and gangsterism were very high.

He informed the Commission that the Women and Family Development Ministry had asked him to conduct a research on street kids in Sabah but kept the findings confidential and prohibited him from publishing any materials from the study.

“I could not reveal anything from my study, but it is (the number of street kids in Sabah) very big. I must be careful not to reveal anything,” he said, when asked if the street kids were mostly foreigners and from which country.

1,455 stateless kids at shelter – dept

Friday, May 24th, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Welfare Department is assisting the Federal Special Task Force (FSTF) in looking after the welfare of stateless children that are housed at its Rumah Pelindungan Ehsan, according to the department’s Children’s Department Unit assistant director Mohd Azan Hussin.

He said the Welfare Department has 1,455 children between the ages of six and 18 being housed at the temporary facility now.

They comprise 1,119 males and 336 females, he told the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the presence of illegal immigrants yesterday, adding that 641 of these children were of Suluk descent, 556 of Bajau descent and the rest are of other nationalities including Tator, Butun, Kagayan and Pakistani.

Those aged between 15 and 18 made up the highest number of 902 staying at the FSTF’s welfare protection home, he said, adding that 205 of them are aged between six and 12, while the remaining 348 are 13 and 14-year-olds.

Mohd Azan said these children are categorized as stateless because they were not able to produce any identification documents when they were picked up by enforcement agencies.

“There are two categories of stateless children, those who have parents but are loitering and living in public areas and those who do not have parents or guardians and are loitering as well as living in public areas,” he said.

Schooling the poorest

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Homeless children need consideration for their special needs.

THERE are many ways in which to battle poverty. Governments can institute minimum wages, provide free or subsidised public housing, and give seasonal handouts. These measures help. But the single greatest game-changer is a good education. In an upwardly mobile society, education can help the children of the poor to break the cycle of poverty seemingly set for them by the preceding generation. A good and solid education, when matched with the opportunity for tertiary studies, can bring a dimensional difference to the next generation’s life. But at the  basic, without a school leaver’s certificate, without the ability to at least read, write and do arithmetic, a person has greatly reduced chances of getting a job that could  make any significant economic difference to his life.

For homeless children, the challenge is particularly tough. Whereas children in reduced circumstances but who have a home might have the stigma of being poor to contend with, the indigent have to survive the risks, discomforts and uncertainties of an itinerant life. And when the next meal or next shelter can be as unpredictable as the next year can be to an “ordinary” child, the fixed routine of waking up, going to school, finishing homework, and getting a good night’s sleep — the every day job of most children — must surely be a luxury, if not pure fantasy.

But, being homeless does not mean the end of hope. Which is why a special school for street and homeless children in the Klang Valley is being proposed. This is not a new concept. In the United States, which has 1.5 million homeless children, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act 1987 made it federal law for all districts to increase enrolment and attendance in school, by removing the barriers to education caused by homelessness — like lack of a fixed address, vaccination or documents. The district has to provide free transport for these children, no matter the distance.

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School for homeless city kids

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

A SPECIAL school is being proposed for street and homeless kids in the city who have no access to proper education.

Education Ministry’s educational planning and research division director Dr Faridah Abu Hassan said Pusat Bimbingan Jalinan Qaseh was aimed at bringing free education nearer to the children in the city.

“We are preparing a proposal to be presented to the cabinet as soon as possible.

“We are proposing that the old office of the Federal Territories Education Department in Jalan Raja Muda here to be converted into a school to cater to more than 500 children.”

Faridah said this after opening the Education for All Week 2012, jointly organised by the ministry, National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK) and Yayasan Salam at Lorong Haji Taib here yesterday.

The programme runs concurrently with Chill and Cheer @ Lorong.

With the assistance of Welfare Department and non-governmental organisations, Faridah said the ministry had identified more than 500 children around Klang Valley who did not receive proper education.

“Some of these kids are registered in schools, but don’t have consistent attendance, while others are homeless and do not have the opportunity to go to schools.

“We believe there are more such children around the Klang Valley.”

The ministry, she said, would also propose hostels to be included in the new school.

The project is estimated to cost between RM3 and 5 million.

Faridah added that with the establishment of such schools, the government would be able to give basic education to homeless children.

“At this stage, we are proposing the basic 3Rs of reading, writing and arithmetic.

“However, we will consider including the curriculum in normal schools and vocational programmes in the future.”

She said the ministry would consider extending the project to other states if the first school is successful.

According to statistics by AADK’s Geographical Information System, up to April, there were 493,787 children aged between 7 and 17 identified in Klang Valley.

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Pioneer school for stateless kids

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Kota Kinabalu: A pioneer national curriculum-based education centre for undocumented children in Sabah has been set up in Kg Numbak, Menggatal, near here.

The Ministry project is a first-of-its-kind initiative by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) in collaboration with the Sabah Special Task Force Sabah and Labuan, and Malaysian Teacher’s Foundation.

Deputy Education Minister, Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi, said the Centre would implement alternative education for children with no documents, incomplete documents and non-citizens.

“The Centre in Kg Numbak enables 250-300 children to learn basic education that focuses on the 3M concept – reading, writing and arithmetic.

The children will also acquire knowledge on Islamic education, moral education and Malaysian nationalism.

“This positive move will not only eradicate illiteracy in the country but is also an effort to produce quality human capital with good morals and a high spirit of patriotism,” he said, when opening the Educare Centre, Saturday.

Under this alternative education, he said the Ministry would act as a coordinating agency, while other organisations and government agencies like the Education Department, private sector and non-governmental organisations are allowed to implement the alternative education by complying with certain requirements set by the ministry.

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