Malaysia’s Forgotten Children

Written by Fila Magnus

For a country that prides itself in its growth and development, we often fail to realize that we have failed, and continue to fail our most vulnerable population, our forgotten children.

Author: Fila Magnus

It has been estimated that there are over 290,000 stateless children in Malaysia, and it is believed to be a number that continues to grow. Their status, or rather lack thereof has allowed for them to be denied the most fundamental of access, and what is deemed to be the core, and the most basic of human rights.  Without citizenship, the children who are born in Malaysia through settlers or parents whose marriages were never registered, are bound to find themselves forced to go without education and access to affordable healthcare. Not only that, without official documents to their names, they are at constant risk of facing detention, and ironically bound by law to remain within the country.

If the aforementioned realities weren’t horrifying enough, it would’ve been safe to assume that, that is where their burdens would end. But the reality is, with even the most basic needs being overlooked, what chance would they have when trying to seek for employment, when their lack of documentation is basic grounds to not be hired? Irrespective of their abilities to lead and succeed, these Malaysian children will not have the mere opportunity to live their lives by merit. Unless laws change, they are forever trapped by a glass ceiling that continues to shrink as they grow.

Denial of citizenship is a violation of children’s rights

It goes without saying that the denial of their citizenship, is a gross violation of not only the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, but also a misrepresentation of the Federal Constitution. For a country that continues to stand for the oppressed everywhere, we have done a phenomenal job at ignoring our own version of a systematic oppression within the nation.

Our children should not be made to pay the price for an unfair and unjust system, or the possible irresponsibility of their parents.

Every child deserves the right to live, to be recognized, to be a citizen, to be children.