Muhyiddin Yassin announced his rakyat-caring stimulus package to ease the burden of the rakyat and said that “no-one is left behind.”
He is wrong, because there is one group which has definitely been forgotten.
These are the Malaysians whose plight has not been properly addressed during the nation’s Movement Control Order (MCO) which was enacted to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.
They are Malaysia’s stateless children, children in welfare homes, and former residents of the state-run orphanages. How do they qualify for the BPN and JKM food basket?
Without any supporting documents to identify them, stateless people some of whom are former residents of state-run orphanges, are denied access to government aid. Many of them live a hand-to-mouth existence. The MCO and the closure of many small businesses, has cut their usual means of income, which involves casual labour.
Most earn only RM15 to RM20 a day. The rest of the country is largely unaware of their predicament.
Muhammad Khairul Hafiz Abdullah, is the president of an NGO, called Welfare and Social Organisation (Perbak), which looks after the interests and well-being of former residents of the nation’s orphanages.
He has lodged a nationwide appeal on behalf of Malaysia’s stateless people. He would like to know how stateless people can apply for the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN – National Care Aid) and Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM – Social Welfare Department) food basket.
He said that the authorities should help former residents of the state’s orphanages who lack skills and education, and do not know how to apply for aid.
He said that immediate help is needed for a group of 278 stateless young adults, registered with his NGO, who have been deprived of a daily income because work is unavailable during the current lockdown.
He has urged the government to provide special funds for the stateless children, who are still in orphanages, to help ease their burden.
In the government’s recent “rakyat-caring” stimulus package, known as Prihatin, we were told that immediate assistance would be provided to needy Malaysians. Businesses will also be supported in an effort to strengthen the economy.
In the government’s latest stimulus package, which started on 1 April, members of the armed forces, immigration, customs, the civil defence force, RELA and the police, receive a monthly allowance of RM200.
Students in higher education, will receive a one-off payment of RM200 in May.
Small and medium sized industries, will be able to apply for help when the RM4.5 billion aid, in the form of five initiatives, are made available.
The problem of stateless children has not been resolved despite the intervention of successive governments.
In his nationwide broadcast last month, the prime minister pledged that Prihatin will provide immediate assistance to ease the burden of the people.
Nationwide, there are around 500,000 stateless people. They do not have identity cards and have no citizenship, even though one parent may be a Malaysian citizen. Some are the children of refugees. Others are children who were abandoned at birth, are illegitimate or are orphans.
The lack of proper paperwork means that they are denied access to health care, government aid, schooling, higher education, housing and other incentives to help the poor. Without documents, they cannot open a bank account.
The stateless are marginalised, discriminated against, and often abused, both physically and sexually. They are taken advantage of, because they do not exist, on paper.
It is hoped that in the week before Ramadhan, Khairul’s appeal will reach Putrajaya and the stateless people will be given the aid, which they need.