8 July 2015

PRESS STATEMENT: Allow All Children in Malaysia the Right to Education

8 July 2015, Kuala Lumpur — Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching’s statement on allowing education for undocumented children comes at a pivotal time, as Malaysia is beginning to examine the plight of undocumented communities among us. This move would be crucial for our country’s progress towards a “more inclusive and equitable society,” which is one of the strategic thrusts in the 11th Malaysian Plan.

“It is high time the Ministry of Education addresses this issue seriously and openly. There are an estimated 150,000 stateless children in Malaysia — many of whom were born here, but are unable to get official documentation so attending school even with the implementation of this circular would prove to be difficult,” says Wan Saiful Wan Jan, CEO of IDEAS. He added that “The right to education of children who are refugees should also be looked into. For example, our neighbours, Thailand, allow children who are refugees to attend public schools while this not an option for the many children who have come to seek refuge on Malaysian shores in recent years.”

“Bringing up a Ministry of Education circular issued 6 years ago and promising to ‘review’ blueprints are far from enough. It is not merely about claiming to accept undocumented children, but about implementing this circular and making sure these students’ specific needs are met when they enter schools, in order to build a truly equitable society. We call for the lives and dignity of these all underprivileged children regardless of whether they are stateless or refugees to be taken seriously.”

# # #


IDEAS is Malaysia’s first think-tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges. We are an independent not-for-profit organisation. As a cross-partisan think tank, we work across the political spectrum. Our purpose is to advance market-based principles, and we are not bound by party politics, race or religion.

Our mission is to improve the level of understanding and acceptance of public policies based on the principles of rule of law, limited government, free markets and free individuals. For more information, please visit
# # #

Media enquiries:
IDEAS (+60-3) 6201 8896/ 8897
Tamanna Patel,


Leave a comment