Sunday August 5, 2012
Children without birth certificates a worry
KUCHING: The state government is still grappling with the problem of children growing up without birth certificates.
The statistics are ambiguous and those affected would only speak out when they need assistance to get their children into schools.
Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said from what the state had gathered, most of the cases arose from marriages that had not been registered.
“Often the children without birth certificates were born out of wedlock; those who wed outside Malaysia; or those who married foreigners.
“Marrying outside Malaysia is all right but they need to register their marriages in the country as well so that problems such as this does not arise,” she told reporters after presenting Hari Raya cakes and duit raya to children staying at the Laila Taib Welfare Complex Kuching here yesterday.
She said these couples could also sought the help of the Malaysian consulates in the countries they were married in.
Fatimah explained that many did not see the importance of this until they had children and it was time to send them to school. “Can you imagine a child being stateless all the while. And when it’s time to go to school, then the parents panic and seek assistance.
By then, years had passed and the process to get the documents become a tedious one and they need to produce witnesses and so forth,” she said.
Furthermore, she said, the situation would get even trickier when a parent passes away.
She said they did not realise how important the birth certificate was for a Malaysian until they realise that they could benefit from it like free education and healthcare.
In addition, Fatimah said there were only a few homes in the peninsula which accepted these group of children given that most charitable homes catered only to Malaysians.
“As such, it is a messy thing. So our advice to parents is to view this matter of getting birth certificates as a top priority,” she added.
Fatimah presented the Raya goodies on behalf of Persatuan Masakan and Kuih-muih Sarawak.
Earlier on, she spoke more on the Children Act 2001 concerning the rights of children and how it protects them.