Recognising Malaysia’s stateless Indians

Indians arrived in Malaysia a century ago but many of their descendants still lack formal status.

(Al Jazeera) – Ethnic Indians comprise nearly eight per cent of the Malaysian population, yet an inability to obtain their 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, do not have birth certificates or identity cards.  Activists say that number is much higher.

Lacking basic documentation, many ethnic Indians do not have 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.