KOTA KINABALU – Street children, mostly stateless are a perennial problem here.
They caused serious concern to the public for many years due to loopholes in the system to deal with them effectively.
Minister of Community Development and Consumer Affairs Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid concurred during a press conference about the issue today saying that the issue couldn’t be resolve because of loopholes therefore making it “a dilemma that needed to be addressed”.
Legalising the stateless children is seen as an alternative to resolve the issue.
“We are not going to give them citizenship; that is out of the question. What we are trying to do is to list down certain criteria on how to legalise them,” she said to reporters after chairing a meeting on the street children and beggars issues with the Immigration Department, the Royal Malaysia Police, Registration Department Malaysia, Welfare Department and DBKK, today.
Jainad said that they will come up with a paperwork listing recommendations and suggestions to tackle the issue.
“We can’t disclose any details for now, its premature but issuing citizenship and permanent residence will not be in the paperwork,” she said.
To date, the number of street children living in Sabah according to a source from the Philippine and Indonesia are approximately 50,000 and 150,000 children respectively.
“For the past eight years, there are a total of 1,557 street children aged between 6 to 18 year-old with no documentations have been temporarily placed at the Rumah Perlindungan Ehsan in Kinarut,” she said.
She further disclosed that as of now only 18 children are still at the centre.
Jainab who is concerned with social problems that may arise if no actions are taken to address the street children issue said that the authorities and general public need to work together to resolve this matter.
“If we don’t address this issue social problems will increase. We are worried that this will affect our future generation especially our youngsters.”
“What will happen to these street children if they reach 18 year-old? What is our next action and where should we place them? That is the present dilemma,” she said. – By Fizah Yusof/SayangSabah