Kuala Lumpur: Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said there were parents who were reluctant to send their children who did not have birth certificates to school for fear that they would be detained.
He said this should not be so as village headmen were given leeway to issue letters of verification or recommendation for the children to register in government or government-aided schools, or if one parent was a Malaysian.
“Education is compulsory in our country. Maybe there are parents who are afraid (as the children do not have birth certificates) so they do not register their children in schools,” Mohd Paud said the Dewan Rakyat, Thursday.
He said this in reply to a supplementary question by Hamim Samuri (BN-Ledang) who asked about the steps taken by the Education Ministry about parents who do not send their children to school.
Mohd Puad said children of immigrants fleeing as war refugees, like Rohingya and Cambodian refugees, were also given verification letters by village headmen.
“If they (the children of refugees) do not have documents but are verified by the village headman, as only he knows them, then the children will accepted in school.
“So, there is no direction for them to meet a registration officer to be enrolled in school…this is very clear,” he said.
Mohd Puad also clarified that the Education Ministry will not register the children of illegal immigrants in schools.
Besides that, he said the Ministry also had problems when children of war refugees like the Rohingyas and Cambodians did not attend school as they were always shifting or their parents refused to pay the school fees which were provided by non-governmental organisations and volunteers with the cooperation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)