CSO PLATFORM FOR REFORM DEMANDS TRANSPARENCY,
ACCOUNTABILITY AND INVESTIGATION ON ALLEGATIONS OF BABY
SNATCHING AMONG STATELESS MOTHERS AT SABAH GOVERNMENT
CSO Platform for Reform, as a coalition of concerned civil society organisations
committed to upholding the human rights of all individuals, express our deep
concern about the shocking news of infants of stateless mothers in Sabah
hospitals being forcibly taken away and given up for adoption , and urge
that the Sabah Health Department investigate these incidences with urgency
and full transparency and accountability.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Malaysia is a signatory,
emphasises the paramount importance of the best interests of the child (Article
3) and the right to protection from all forms of exploitation (Article 36). It is
incumbent upon the Sabah Health Department to ensure the protection and
fulfilment of these fundamental rights for every child, regardless of their
nationality or immigration status.
Hence, the case on stateless mothers losing their newborns in Sabah
government hospital contravene the principles and obligations set forth by the
Convention on the Rights of the Child. We strongly urge the Sabah Health
Department to conduct a thorough investigation into these cases and to take
immediate action to rectify any violations of the rights of these vulnerable
children and their families.
The exposé of the tragic case of a stateless boy with HIV who passed away
after being deprived of treatment for years in a Sabah hospital  is an
indicator of the urgent need to address the plight of stateless individuals,
especially children. As children, their access to the most basic of access and
rights should come before any political status that affects them. This tragic
incident underscores the necessity for immediate action to provide equitable
healthcare access and eradicate discrimination against stateless individuals
within the healthcare system.
Sabah's statelessness problem demands a balanced approach that upholds human rights and equally
addresses the economic concerns of the state. While Sabah's economic concerns around the issue of
statelessness are vast, they should not be a justification for compromising the fundamental rights of
individuals, particularly children. As the state continually refuses to address the stateless communities
in Sabah that threatens to overwhelm the local population, they not only lose potential source of
revenue through the collection of taxes, by enabling these communities to subsist purely on
undeclared cash, we unwittingly support the continuance of a black market. By failing to recognise
these communities, we cause a cascading effect of human rights crises, further pushing these
communities into desperation.
Therefore, based on the Malaysiakini article, we call upon the Sabah Health Department to:
Transparently and thoroughly investigate the allegations of baby snatching from stateless
mothers in Sabah government hospitals and take appropriate actions based on the findings.
Ensure that the investigation is in line with the principles of fairness, impartiality, and
adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
If the allegations are found to be untrue, Sabah Health Department is to openly refute and
clarify the matter to prevent any unwarranted damage to the reputation of the healthcare
Prioritise equitable healthcare access and take immediate steps to eradicate all forms of
discrimination against stateless individuals within the healthcare system. Every person,
regardless of their legal status, deserves equal and dignified healthcare.
The rights of every child, irrespective of their circumstances, must be protected, and we stand united
in urging the Sabah Health Department to fulfil its duty to safeguard these rights.