Findings on street kids kept under wraps – sociologist.

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.

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