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Sunday, 14 January 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM

Chong: RM120 school fee for non-citizens only a token sum

SEREMBAN: The RM120 annual fee imposed on non-citizens or stateless children studying at public primary schools will not be reviewed as this is only a token sum, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon.

He said the parents or guardians of these children should have no problem coming up with the sum.

“We have actually been asked to increase the fee. Many people think that RM120 for one year is too low,” he said, adding that foreigners in any country were required to pay a fee when studying in public schools.

“Public school education is only free for citizens. Those who think that RM120 is high should know how costly private education is,” he said after handing over aid to Taman Bukit Zamrud residents in conjunction with Ponggal here yesterday.

He was responding to a statement by Malaysian Public Service Society president Andrew Raju who had urged the ministry to exempt foreign children legally adopted by Malaysian couples from paying the fee.

Last week, The Star had high­lighted the case of seven-year-old G. Darshana, who was initially denied enrolment in a public school as she is a non-citizen with no passport despite being legally adopted by her Malaysian parents.

She has since started school and the Immigration Department had also clarified that a circular on the matter, which had gone viral, was actually a letter in response to queries made by the Education Ministry.

Chong said adoption was only the first in the many processes to a child becoming a citizen.

“We have no choice but to charge a minimal fee as the child is still a ‘bukan warganegara’ (non-citizen),” he added.

Non-citizen children have to pay RM240 annually to study in government secondary schools.

Government schools, said Chong, must also start accepting non-citizen children following clarification over the passport issue.

He said a condition was that one of the parents must be Malaysian.

“It is back to the old rule now. As long as the parents or guardians have applied or are in the process of applying for the necessary adoption or citizenship documents for their children, these kids will be allowed to enrol in government schools,” he said.