Yap accepts petition to end ‘anak angkat’ programme

The petition follows the case of a Sarawak girl in Malaya who reportedly died of a heart attack on Fri.
KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Education Minister Mary Yap Kain Ching has confirmed that she has forwarded an online petition on the “anak angkat” (adopted child) programme to the Director-General of Higher Education.

The petition seeks the end of the “anak angkat” programme for Sabah and Sarawak Natives in tertiary institutions in Malaya.

“We will investigate the allegations behind the online petitition,” added Yap in a statement in Daily Express. “We will issue an official statement.”

She was commenting on a case, going viral in social media, showing the corpse of a Sarawak girl being claimed by representatives of Islamic bodies in Miri. She had reportedly died of a heart attack.

The body had apparently been prepared for a Christian burial, a cross clearly visible on the coffin.

There are two versions of the story going viral in social media.

In the first version, the girl was sent by her parents through a foundation to study in Malacca. Here, she was “adopted” by a Malay foster family, and became Muslim without her parents’ knowledge.

In another version, the student had opted to convert after marriage.

The girl, reportedly the daughter of a Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Church leader in Miri, died last Friday. The Islamic agencies came to the family of the deceased to claim her body for burial at the Muslim cemetery in Lambir.

The father said there was no proof his daughter had become a Muslim after Christmas and wanted her to be buried as a Christian.

The online petition seeks the end of the “anak angkat” programme on the grounds that parents are unable to monitor their children.

“There has been an increase in the number of cases of children from Sabah and Sarawak being converted without their parents’ knowledge,” said the petition. “Such cases also occur among the Orang Asli community.”

The petition urged the authorities concerned to restore the confidence of Native parents in them.

The “anak angkat” and “keluarga angkat” (foster family) programmes in Malaya are run by the Ministry of Higher Education and Mara — under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development — for children of Sabah and Sarawak Natives and Orang Asli.

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