Kota Kinabalu May 04, 2012: Malaysian citizenship is not the people's absolute right or automatically given but is a special privilege, said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusof.
He said it is not an easy task for the Government to approve such applications as many aspects need to be looked into.
"I have to admit that the journey of applying for Malaysian citizenship is not going to be easy or simple because the Government's assessment in considering each application would be very rigid and very thoroughÉevery application would be strictly scrutinised.
"Therefore, those successful applicants who are awarded Malaysian citizenship are truly eligible and have met all aspects like recognising and complying with the Federal Constitution, have respect and honour for the Rukun Negara, and are loyal to the King and nation," he said.
Abu Seman said this during the presentation of Malaysian identification documents to 124 recipients, including those below 21, throughout Sabah at Wisma Wanita, here, Thursday.
Also present were Home Ministry Division Secretary of National Registration and Organisation Zawiyah Osman, National Registration Department (NRD) Sabah Director Ismail Ahmad and State Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib. Abu Seman said the citizenship would only be awarded when the Government is satisfied with the authenticity of the applications and after all requirements have been met.
Nonetheless, he said the ministry has its own charter in delivering service to the people, including making efforts to solve all the applications as soon as possible.
"The Ministry has set a two-year period to reply all applications for Malaysian citizenship, including those unsuccessful ones.
Among the causes as to why applications are not considered is because the applicant did not meet the terms and conditions stipulated in the Federal Constitution like period of residing in the country, good behaviour and character, and basic knowledge of Bahasa Melayu.
"Another reason is because the information submitted in their applications are found to be dubious and the applicants could not be tracked after they submitted their applications," Abu Seman said.
Of the 124 successful recipients, he said 32 were awarded the citizenship under Article 19(1) of the Federal Constitution for those above 21 and were holders of Permanent Resident status in the country for at least 12 years.
He said 45 were applications from Malaysian parents or guardians for their children below 21 to get the citizenship under Article 15(2) of the Federal Constitution where either their mother or father is a Malaysian.
Another 47, Abu Seman pointed out, were applications for children below 21 under special circumstances like those adopted, stipulated under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution.
To a question, he said some of the 124 recipients have waited between 10 and 40 years to get the citizenship.
"In 2010, a total of 29,667 applications for Malaysian citizenship which were received from 2007 up to 2009 were resolved by the ministry and some of the applications were rejected because they did not meet requirements," he said.
To another question, NRD Sabah Director Ismail Ahmad said Indonesians and Filipinos account for the most among those applying for Malaysian citizenship in the State.
Meanwhile, a 79-year-old man, who is a Muslim convert and used to work as a labourer, was pleased that his application to be a Malaysian came true.
Fung Siong Kong @ Dullah bin Ismail, who lives in Kepayan, thanked the Federal Government for approving his application and hoped to benefit from cheaper hospitalisation and medical treatment in government hospitals.
"I am suffering from heart disease and it was quite burdensome for me financially to cover my medical costs.
"After waiting only for two years, I am very happy and grateful that the Government approved my application. With this Malaysian citizenship, I would be able to enjoy the affordable medical treatment for Malaysian senior citizens in the government hospital here," he said.
Fung, whose wife died in 1999, and who has five children, said he lost his "Bunga Raya" identity card and was a holder of Permanent Resident status.
Hence, he applied for Malaysian citizenship in 2010.
KOTA KINABALU 4th May, 2012: Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop, has reminded those awarded Malaysian citizenship to respect the country’s law and public order.
The deputy minister said this after awarding citizenship to 124 people comprising 73 children under 21 years old and 30 other recipients over 21 years old, at Wisma Wanita yesterday.
“You (recipients) must appreciate the government for awarding the citizenship because it takes time to finalize your application,” said Abu.
He said approved applications are based on qualification of applicants to observe the Rukun Negara, unity and peace.
“I hope you (recipients) will not tarnish the country’s good image but contribute to development in your respective skills and observe the laws,” he added.
Abu said the Home Ministry had processed some 29,667 citizenship applications received between 2007 and 2009.
“Of this, some applications have been rejected because the applicants did not fulfil the Federal Constitution regulations like the qualifying period of stay in the country, had breached the country’s laws, are not fluent in Bahasa Malaysia and submitting suspicious personal details,” said Abu.
He said some of the applicants could not be contacted after submitting their applications.