There are at least 2,000 families in Sabah suffering with children who are stateless because of the late marriage registration of the parents, according to Sabah People's Rights Association president Lee Pun Yee.
"One parent from these families is a Malaysian and his or her spouse a foreigner from Indonesia, Philippines or China, who came to Malaysia through legal means," Lee said at a press conference in Petaling Jaya today.
"The first-born of all these families are stateless, while the second child born to some of these families also face a similar problem.
"Their children were rejected citizenship due to the lack of the marriage certificate. The couples had their marriages registered and applied for citizenship again, but they were asked to wait.
"They were not rejected right away, only asked to wait and some have been waiting for 40 years," Lee said, adding that his association had received 25 complaints since it was established five years ago.