Compassion needed for stateless children born in Sabah, says Shafie

Mohd Shafie Apdal

KOTA KINABALU: There should be humanitarian considerations and compassion for children born in Sabah but categorised as stateless although one of their parents is a local, says Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

“The children involved cannot be denied citizenship because their mother or father is not a Malaysian citizen.

“Many of them could not obtain identity documents due to problems involving their parents’ marriage such as the marriage not registered because one of the parents is not a Malaysian.

“But we cannot punish these children, just because one of their parents is not a Malaysian and we deny them access to schooling and from obtaining valid documents,” he said after launching Regatta Lepa 2019, here, today.

However, Mohd Shafie said there was a tight set procedure to be followed, including the applicants needed to prove that the children were born in Sabah and that one of the parents was a local before they could proceed further.

“The onus of granting citizenship to this group is not within the jurisdiction of the state government. It is the responsibility of the federal government,” he added.

On Regatta Lepa 2019, Mohd Shafie said the festival to be held in Semporna from April 25 to 28 could attract more tourists to Sabah.

“This regatta in not new in the Sabah tourism calendar and it is not just to highlight the cultural heritage of the Bajau ethnic community but also as one of the main tourism products in Malaysia, particularly Sabah,” he said. –Bernama