Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Malaysia: Recognizing Malaysia's stateless Indians

Ethnic Indians comprise nearly eight per cent of the Malaysian population, yet an inability to obtain the proper documents has rendered generations stateless.

Official government estimates say 40,000 ethnic Indians, the descendants of Indians who arrived in Malaysia to work on plantations a century ago, are without birth certificates or identity cards, but activists say that number is much higher.

Lacking basic documentation, many ethnic Indians lack formal education and are unable to seek legal employment or cast a ballot

The government recently launched a drive to register ethnic Indians, but for many, even proving the nation as their birthplace presents a difficult hurdle.

Al Jazeera's Florence Looi reports from Kuala Lumpur.