Malaysiakini – Citizenship applicants told to ‘vote for ruling party’

Aidila Razak
Sep 20, 11
A permanent resident applying for citizenship has claimed that immigration officers had told her that her main duty, if granted citizenship, would be to vote for the “ruling party”.

In an email interview, the applicant, who was born and bred in Malaysia, said the officers had explicitly said this to her when she was being interviewed as part of the citizenship application process.

“(They asked me) ‘What would you do with Malaysian citizenship? What is your main duty?’.

azlan“I answered that I would support young people because it’s my passion,” she said, requesting anonymity so as to not jeopardise the outcome of the application.

“(They answered) ‘No! The correct answer is to vote for the ruling party, because they gave you the gift of permanent residency’.”

The applicant, who had approached Malaysiakini with her story on Saturday, said her parents had also been told the same thing. They had migrated to Malaysia from South Asia in the 1970s when offered professional postings here.

“I don’t remember what I said next, probably something about ‘What if the ruling party changes next time I get to vote?’ which they brushed off….I was fuming,” she said.

“Permanent residency is not a ‘gift’. I was born and raised (here) but due to a lack of jus soli, I was born a foreigner.”

(Jus soli refers to the principle that a person’s nationality at birth is determined by the place of

She was not automatically made permanent resident upon birth as her parents, who had at that point been in Malaysia for more than a decade, had not been granted that status.

Their application for permanent residency was only passed in the 1990s.

“(The permanent residency application process was) a process fraught with sabotage and ineptitude…(Permanent residents) get (fewer) rights than some people on temporary visas and no one knows what to do with (us),” she said.

Second attempt

The recent interview with immigration was the family’s second attempt at applying for citizenship.

Her father had failed in the first attempt because his essay in the written test was 10 words short of the required 150 words.

“You can’t appeal, so we had to go through it again,” she said of the initial application which was submitted in the early 2000s.

As she was under 21 at the time, her application was automatically rejected along with her father’s.

“It didn’t matter that I had gotten ‘A’ for Bahasa Malaysia in the SPM (examination),” said the applicant, who had gone through the national schooling system.

“I’m hopefully going through the final stretch. My dad had to find people within the system to make sure we were approved. It’s been a year and a half of hassle and waiting. I just want this to be over.”

bangladesh prime minister office ngo affairs bureau 180911 frontA similar citizenship-for-votes claim had recently come under scrutiny when a Bangladesh government bureau posted a note on its website that Bangladeshis had been granted Malaysian citizenship if they vote for the BN.

The summary, posted on the website of the NGO Affairs Bureau of the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office, said ‘some of our citizens’ working in Malaysia had been granted citizenship and voting rights by the Malaysian government.

The Bangladeshi High Commission has since denied this, saying that the claim is “baseless and ill-intentioned”.

The National Registration Department has also come forward to reveal that only 37 Bangladeshis have been conferred citizenship since 2008.

The Home Ministry estimates that there are more than 500,000 legal and illegal Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia, most of whom are unskilled.



Admin • September 20, 2011

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