Unveil the unsettling reality for stateless mothers in Sabah's hospitals in this documentary, a collaborative investigative project by the Fourth Alliance which builds on Malaysiakini’s 2023 expose on baby snatching cases.

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Malaysiakini journalist S. Vinothaa exposed the shocking story of stateless mothers in Sabah whose babies had been taken from them whilst in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Lahad Datu Hospital. Read the story now.

Watch the video to find out how systems in the hospital and the welfare department allowed critically ill babies to be removed from their families without the full consent or knowledge of their parents, and were then adopted by other families. 

Background

Stateless people do not have citizenship in any country. In Malaysia, they are at risk of arrest and deportation at any time, despite the fact that many have lived in the region for centuries.

They also have no access to healthcare, education or work.

In 2014 the Ministry of Health directed all hospitals to implement a new fee schedule for foreigners. Effective January 1, 2015, an admission deposit of RM600-RM1200 is required for admission to the Third Class Ward in government hospitals.

Certain categories of non-citizens are excluded from this fee schedule such as red IC holders, the foreign spouses of Malaysian citizens, the children of red IC holders and the children of a foreign spouse — but not stateless people.

Affordable primary healthcare is critical for pregnant mothers and their children. Dr Amar Singh, paediatrician and child rights advocate, says that when women don’t receive routine antenatal care and can’t deliver in a safe environment, “there are significant adverse maternal-child outcomes.”

The crippling hospital fees also means that women who have just delivered may be vulnerable to exploitation. One of the women in our story was told that she wouldn’t be able to afford the medical fees that her new baby’s health condition would require. This was used to convince her to leave the baby with adoptive parents.

WE CALL UPON THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH TO ENSURE STATELESS CHILDREN AND EXPECTANT MOTHERS ARE EXEMPT FROM THIS FEE SCHEDULE.

how can i help

1. Share our videos and tag your MP

Collective action is powerful. The more people who see this video, understand the issue and speak up, the more likely it is that we can create change. 

Tag Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad @DrDzul (X) and Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Sauni @lukanisman (X) / Luka Nis Man (Facebook) to support affordable healthcare for stateless children and expectant mothers. Tag your local MP as well, to ask if they will support this call too.

You can find the full documentary on YouTube, and short video clips at our Instagram and TikTok accounts.

2. Email the Minister of Health

Health Minister YB Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad has the power to change the policy that enforces “foreigner” fees at hospitals for stateless children and expectant mothers. Let him know that you don’t support this!

Use the template below and add your name in the sign off. 


Email Template

Dear YB, 

I have watched “The Forgotten Babies” documentary and I believe that stateless children and expectant mothers should be given the right to affordable healthcare in this country. 

You have the power to make that happen! 

I humbly ask you to update national hospital policy to exclude stateless children and expectant mothers from the “foreigners” fee schedule in line with Malaysia’s Child Act and international human rights. 

Sincerely, 

[your name]

Send to:

Health Minister: YB Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Bin Ahmad — dzulkefly.ahmad@moh.gov.my

Deputy Health Minister: YB Dato Lukanisman Bin Awang Sauni — lukanisman@moh.gov.my 

You can find the email address of your local MP here.

 

3. Be a whistleblower 

Do you work in healthcare? Have you seen stateless or vulnerable mothers lose their children against their will? Fill in this anonymous form to report.

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