KUALA LUMPUR, (Oct 29) — Children born to non-Muslim men who engage in ‘temporary marriage’ with ‘China dolls’ and Muslims who marry abroad but do not register their marriage in this country face difficulty acquiring Malaysian citizenship, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
“The National Registration Department (JPN) comes across many such cases. We study the matter on a case-by-case basis.
“I appeal for preference to be given to religious awareness and compliance with the law so that children will not become the victims,” said Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi during question time in the house.
He was replying to a supplementary question from Alice Liau Kiong Yieng (DAP-Lanang) on how the government handled the issue of stateless children, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.
Ahmad Zahid said the JPN had a mobile unit which helped in the applications for citizenship for these children.
He also said that not all children born in Malaysia were automatically granted Malaysian citizenship as it depended on the status of the marriage and the citizenship of the parents.
However, he said, children below 21 years of age who were adopted, including those who had permanent resident status, could apply for Malaysian citizenship.
“The granting of citizenship is the highest award for an individual, and it is not given arbitrarily. We will consider the matter thoroughly and will only grant citizenship to those who are really eligible for it,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid also said that 23,628 people had been stripped of their Malaysian citizenship since 1957.
Replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Dr Marcus Mojigoh (BN-Putatan) on the issue of stateless children in Sabah, Ahmad Zahid said the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah would submit its report soon.
“The RCI has completed its investigation. The solution to the problem (of stateless children) is contained in the report. If the matter is not politicised, it can be resolved,” he said.– BERNAMA