Thursday, March 11, 2010

Govt aid to 'foreign' children in Sabah puzzles PKR

Financial aid is being distributed to children of non-citizens in Sabah and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) wants to know if this has become a government policy.

PKR Supreme Council Member, Ansari Abdullah said, the party had evidence that children of non-Malaysians were receiving financial assistance meant for Malaysian students from poor families in Sabah.

He said the pupils received between RM450 and RM600 annually through the Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pelajar Miskin (KWAPM).

Ansari distributed copies of the documents to the media during a press conference here yesterday to support his allegation. They comprised copies of the pupils' birth certificates and pages of their bank books that had been sent to Sabah PKR communication director Ronnie Klassen earlier.

Describing it as a shocking discovery, Ansari said the documents confirmed the suspicions of many Sabahans that the government is supporting the children of non-Malaysians and stateless people in Sabah.

“As is stated in the birth certificates, the parents are non-Malaysians and their status was either recorded as temporary resident, not clarified or no information obtained,” he pointed out.

He said majority of the children, whose parents are mostly Filipinos, had been "born in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and are staying in Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sepanggar and all along the west coast."

Ansari said he is also puzzled by the fact that the bank had allowed these children to open saving accounts so that they could receive the assistance under the KWAPM scheme, even though the parents do not have identity cards.

“I would like to ask our Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who is also the Education Minister, why is the government helping non-Malaysians when there are a lot more Donni John Duins out there especially in the rural areas of Sabah,” he said.

He was referring to the tragic case of 11-year-old Donni John Duin who committed suicide in 2007 apparently because he wanted to end the misery of his family who were supporting him.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. We believe this problem is widespread all over the state and this is a drain on the government's coffers which are essentially the public’s money and could go a long way to helping less fortunate Malaysian children in rural areas,” he said.

The PKR leader said that if the government had no such financial assistance policy and it was a mistake, then the banks and the Education Department should conduct a more thorough background check on the parents before giving the approval for the children to receive the KWAPM.

He said the bank should verify and authenticate the nationality of the parents before allowing the children to open a saving account and since the assistance is given based on the recommendation by the Education Department, it should also conduct a similar check.

courtesy of FreeMalaysiaToday

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