After eight years, a child with Down syndrome is granted citizenship

KUALA LUMPUR – After eight years of waiting, a girl living at Rumah Kasih Harmoni Paya Jaras in Sungai Buloh (Selangor) with Down syndrome, a congenital defect and a congenital liver disease, has finally been granted Malaysian citizenship.

Datuk Ramanan, MP for Sungai Buloh and Deputy Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives, Datuk S. Ramanan said that the citizen application submitted by Irdina Saffiyah Abdul Fattah had been approved last week. The care centre manager was delighted to hear the news.

Ramanan recalled how Jamaluddin Wahab, the manager and guardian of the welfare home brought Irdina to his attention in January. Since then, he’s been in constant communication with Datuk Seri Datuk Nasution Ismail about Irdina, advocating her citizenship.

“I am extremely grateful to the Interior Minister for his support and concern. Irdina will now be able enjoy all of the rights and priviledges that come with being a Malaysian Citizen,” Ramanan wrote in a Facebook post.

Ramanan hopes that Irdina will soon be able apply for an OKU card (Persons with Disabilities) to give her access to affordable healthcare and special education, opening the door to a healthier and brighter future.

“Irdina, a baby who was abandoned in the hatch of the University of Malaya’s Medical Centre at the time of her birth, has been adopted by the University of Malaya. She was placed in RKHPJ after being referred by the Social Welfare Department.

Irdina, who was born with Down syndrome and congenital heart defects, requires regular hospital treatment to survive. At two years of age, Irdina was only given a non-citizen’s birth certificate because no other documents were found.

Irdina was denied the right to education because she is not a citizen. Her medical costs are much higher than for children who are citizens and receive government subsidies. Irdina, who was disabled, was denied her right to education because she could not go to a special school or participate in the Community-Based Rehabilitation programme (CBR) without an OKU card.

Ramanan expressed hopes for Irdina’s health and promised to support her in the future, seeing a bright and successful life for Irdina.

He fondly remembered a recent office visit by Irdina, her guardian and their friend. Her spontaneous high five and cheerful greetings instantly brightened the mood.

“The joy I experienced in that moment was indescribable.” Irdina has a special place for me,” he said.

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