Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good news for Malaysian fringe children

Some of you will remember the flak I got from one (anonymous of course) blog reader when I wrote a post, on Children's Day, about Malaysian street kids. I took the original post down (and another post on yoga and Islam which also upset the same fellow) on the grounds that it doesn't pay to feed the trolls and I am too old to be bothered with someone who won't listen.

Ironically enough, I ended up being mainstream on the yoga fatwa issue. Sensible Islamic leaders and commentators intervened and the whole silly affair has been pretty much shelved, especially after the Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stepped in, telling the national news agency Bernama that Muslims could carry on doing yoga but minus the chanting: "I wish to state that a physical regime with no elements of worship can continue, meaning, it is not banned. I believe that Muslims are not easily swayed into polytheism." Which was what I had been saying. I guess my irate comment-troll is not very happy with the P.M. either now.

And then there was this in yesterday's paper, pretty much vindicating what I said about street kids too. This from Sunday Star, 22nd Feb, p9:

"children in education limbo due to uncertainty over their nationality can soon head back to the classrooms. That is, if their parents can show that he or she is a Malaysian with the necessary documented proof from the National Registration Department."

The Deputy Education Minister commented: "This issue had been repeatedly brought up in Parliament" and that "the Government has made a decision on it."' He also said, "We are simply abiding by Unesco's principle that children deserve an education."

Another Assistant Minister said he "had lamented the 'policy' among schools to turn away children who had the word "undetermined" written in the column for citizenship in their temporary identification documents."

Of course, one may still ask why a Malaysian citizen can have the citizenship of her child disputed when they, the parent, have documentation and the child was born within Malaysia, but I am not going to go there again. (Still, I can't help but wonder how many of those parents with "undetermined" children are cases where the mother is Malaysian and the father not (or absent altogether) rather than the other way around. I figure it's probably close to 100%, but that's just me.)

One could also wonder how many Malaysian Muslim prostitutes have the guts to register the birth of a child at the National Registration Department when it would mean they would be charged with illicit intercourse, which is a crime here for Muslims, with incarceration among the likely punishments. The child is always the loser.

I have turned off the comments, also in the interests of not feeding the troll.