Sunday, July 3, 2022

Reading lessons on the way as help pours in for Suki and her dad

Father and daughter express their thanks for all of the help they have received so far, as efforts continue on the legal front to fight for Suki's right to citizenship.

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A stateless 10-year-old whose plight moved scores of Malaysians to offer assistance to her and her stroke victim father will soon be able to learn to read, amid ongoing efforts to fight for her right to citizenship.

Unable to enrol in school, Suki Wong Pei Yee had been taking care of her father alone since her Vietnamese mother passed away last year.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organization or Mapim, which was the first to learn of their circumstances, said a volunteer would go to Suki’s home in Petaling Jaya every Saturday beginning this week to teach her how to read both English and Malay.

“The volunteer has previous experience teaching at a kindergarten,” Mapim secretary-general Zulhanis Zainol told MalaysiaNow.

Suki’s story had triggered a flood of inquiries and offers of help from concerned Malaysians, to the extent that an online petition was launched urging the government to grant her citizenship.

Suki is considered stateless as her parents’ marriage was not registered in the country.

She is currently stateless as her father’s marriage to her mother was not registered in the country.

Thanks to efforts by Mapim, which acted as a mediator between her father, Wong Kon Foo, and the welfare department (JKM), she at least possesses a birth certificate.

“We learnt about their plight in September last year, when we were distributing food packs around their neighbourhood,” Zulhanis said.

“They were one of the 100 families we gave food to.”

While they continued to check on Suki and her father to make sure that they had enough to eat, their main concern was Suki’s education or lack thereof.

“We helped Wong submit all of the necessary documents to the Petaling Jaya JKM, including the original receipt proving that Suki was born at Hospital Sungai Buloh,” Zulhanis said.

“Happily, after a few months, JKM managed to get a birth certificate for Suki.”

In the meantime, MalaysiaNow is engaging with a group of lawyers who specialise in stateless cases and who have agreed to work pro bono to fight for Suki’s citizenship.

While Wong and Suki continue to depend on the kindness of others and the assistance they receive from JKM, they have been overwhelmed by the support they have received so far.

Wong said he never expected so many to show concern about him and his daughter.

“Some have come to our house, others have called to give us words of encouragement, saying that they will help.

“All I can say is thank you to everyone.”

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