Friday, 22 October 2010

Trying To Obtain A Birth Certificate

Some of you may remember a previous post about Malaysian-born children without birth certificates.

I still find it shocking that in this day and age, there are children in this country who are stateless and belong nowhere. They do not exist in the eyes of our government.

These are three of the eight children I wrote about earlier. The little boy peeking out from behind his sister has no birth certificate.

He hasn't attained school-going age yet, but if he doesn't somehow obtain a birth certificate, he doesn't obtain an education.

Which is why my friend was so keen on ensuring these kids make their foray into government records. He dragged the young 25 year old mother and her unregistered children to the Registry department.

But trying to get a birth certificate is not easy. Firstly there is a fine for not registering within the stipulated period.

Secondly, you need a witness to swear under oath that he/she was present when the child was born.

And last but not least, the civil servants in the district were uncooperative. They told the mother to go all the way to Seremban to register their birth.

It takes over an hour to get from Kuala Pilah to Seremban. There is limited public transportation, if any.

Perhaps the civil servants were acting within their rightful jurisdiction. But the manner in which they regarded this uneducated, poverty-stricken woman was out of line.

It is not merely the politicians in the state level that exceed their boundaries. So do those in the local council.

We need to have more say and control over the government and administration of the local council for things to improve.

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