12 January 2023
Press statement by Beliawanis MCA Chairperson Ivone Low Yi Wen
Rants against video calling for access to education for stateless children are a self-representation of cyberbullying
Following the release of my statement and accompanying video calling for schools to be opened to refugee and stateless children, some undue brickbats had surfaced.
Although Malaysia is one of the countries that has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), education for minors is not a guaranteed child right due to Malaysia's reservation to Article 28(1)(a) of the UNCRC.
Regardless of any prejudice against the video, the public's compassion is needed as it is unjust and detrimental to the upbringing and future prospects of a stateless child to be deprived of education. Therefore, I must do my part to press for more progressive policies, especially on important youth issues such as education.
There is no reason why we should deny or prevent stateless children from accessing education. If they are provided with the basic 3Rs and above, these minors will grow up educated. They will be less likely to be vulnerable to any form of child exploitation. They will also be able to acquire life skills, learn decency, be more open-minded and exposed and in turn contribute to society.
Criticising the video with inferred expletives is akin to cyber-bullying. Such abusive language is a sad reflection of the lack of compassion and civility, and how haters have failed our education system despite its aims to also instill values.
Hopefully, the new Unity Government will devise a proper roadmap to ensure that these minors, our society and our country benefit from their contributions later in life.