MALAYSIAN CITIZENSHIP: One million met criteria


By S. Sundareson
Letters to the Editor
New Straits Times

I REFER to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s article on the Chinese dilemma published in the New Straits Times on July 26 and 27.

Dr Mahathir said: “Buoyed by the success of the Alliance party in the 1955 elections, the Tunku looked more kindly at the proposal of Sir Cheng Lock that citizenship should be based on jus soli (citizenship by being born in the country). The Tunku did not quite agree but he nevertheless decided to give one million citizenships to unqualified Chinese and Indians.”

As a former registrar of citizens, I wish to comment on Dr Mahathir’s views.

The legislation that conferred citizenship on Malayans are the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948, State Nationality Enactment, 1952 of the various states and finally, the Federal Constitution that came into force on Feb 1, 1948, Sept 15, 1952 and Aug 31, 1957 respectively.

Persons born in Malaya before February 1948 were regarded as British Protected Persons under the British Nationality Act 1948. Long before 1955, thousands of Indians and Chinese (perhaps a million of them) had already become federal citizens by operation of law or by application under Clause 124 and 125 of the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948.

Millions have also become subjects by registration or naturalisation under the provisions of the State Nationality Enactment, 1952 of the various states.

To acquire citizenship by application, registration or naturalisation under the provisions of the two legislation stated above, applicants had to comply with the basic requirements, that is good character, intention to remain permanently in the federation, required period of residence in the federation, elementary knowledge of Malay and a declaration of undivided loyalty to the federation.

Every application for citizenship was checked thoroughly, supporting documents like birth certificate, identity card and passport verified and the applicant tested by the Language Board before a certificate of citizenship was granted. The applications are kept to this day in the National Registration Department headquarters.

The Merdeka Constitution came into force on Aug 31, 1957. Under the provisions of Article 14(l) (a) all those who acquired citizenship under the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948, by operation of law or otherwise and under the State Nationality Enactments, 1952, became citizens by operation of law of the newly independent federation.

Besides that, Article 14 (1)(b) conferred citizenship by birth on every person born within the federation on or after Merdeka Day, the principle of jus soli was at last adopted under the 1957 Constitution.

However, to prevent birds of passage from acquiring Malayan citizenship by birth, Article 14 (1)(b) was amended by the Constitution (Amendment) Act 1962 which came into force on Oct 1, 1962. The effect of this amendment is that only those born in the federation on or after the date became a citizen by birth, if at the time of birth at least one of the parents is a citizen or a permanent resident.

Those who did not become citizens by operation of law under the 1957 Constitution can apply for registration as citizen under Article 15 as wives or children of citizens. Those born in the federation can apply to be registered as citizens under Article 16 by complying with the requirements stipulated therein, that is, production of birth certificate, good character, residential qualification, elementary knowledge of the Malay language and a declaration of undivided loyalty to the king and the country.

Those who were residents in the federation on Merdeka Day can apply to be registered as a citizen under Article 17 by fulfilling the requirements stated therein, that is, residential qualification, elementary knowledge of Malay.

However, Article 17 was repealed on July 1, 1963.

Thereafter, those who wanted to acquire Malaysian citizenship, had to apply for naturalisation under Article 19. In addition to the normal conditions, the applicant has to have an adequate knowledge of the Malay language (including reading and writing if he was absent from the federation on Merdeka Day). The granting of citizenship under Article 19, however, is at the discretion of the Federal Government.

Here again, every application was scrutinised, supporting documents verified and the applicant tested by the Language Board before a certificate of citizenship was granted. The applications become permanent record and are kept safely at the NRD headquarters.

From the above, it is clear that the basic constitutional requirements have been complied with and the established procedure rigidly followed by the authorities before the granting of citizenship.

In the circumstances, it is inconceivable how Tunku could have given one million citizenships to unqualified Chinese and Indians.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 1 August 2013 - 6:31 pm

    Typically of Kerala’s origin behaviour, all Tunku did was ask Tan Cheng Lock to accept Jus Soli post independence and he twisted it around to say Tunku hesitated and relented. Tunku supported UMNO MCA alliance which began in KL from the start even though he was at that time Kedah based where his base did not..His condition for accepting the leadership UMNO was that they accept the Alliance and multi-racialism.. The incident that Kerala origin spoke of was a GREAT MEASURE OF REMARKABLE TRUST BETWEEN TWO GREAT MEN OF DIFFERENT RACE IN THIS COUNTRY – and the Kerala origin twisted it to something digusting.

    The ability of Kerala to twist what is something wonderful this nation had to offer (to the WORLD!) to the moral sewer he operates is an unfortunate natural talent he excels that covers us all in his sewarage..

  2. #2 by worldpress on Thursday, 1 August 2013 - 8:11 pm

    Is this land belong to Mamak?

    Liar try to manipulate them again

  3. #3 by bennylohstocks on Thursday, 1 August 2013 - 8:44 pm

    Can anyone tell senior Kutty was on which batch : 1948, 1952 or 1957 to be given citizenship?

  4. #4 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 1 August 2013 - 9:56 pm

    Sir, you speak with authority backing your statements with facts, evidence.

    Mahathir, as is usual of him, is all tokok, fanciful and hot air. Yet some people still believe in him.

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 1 August 2013 - 9:58 pm

    Is Mahathir being seditious, causing unease in the population ? Can he be charged for anything at all, including bullshyitting?

  6. #6 by Loh on Thursday, 1 August 2013 - 10:13 pm

    ///The Tunku did not quite agree but he nevertheless decided to give one million citizenships to unqualified Chinese and Indians.”///–Mamakthir

    The Tunku either agreed or did not agree. Obviously he agreed to the jus soli basis, whether it was Tan Cheng Lock’s proposal or according to Bigjoe jus soli was proposed by Tunku and hence Kerela descendant lied.

    Tunku was unlike the constitutional Malay from Kerela who negated on his agreement in 1999 using the excuse that he did not quite agree. Only low qualify humans talk about not quite agree to a promise as if it is possible to be a little bit pregnant.

    It seems that 2 million persons like Mamak’s facebook post. So all those in the rural areas who voted UMNO have read Mamak’s facebook. Or were green beans working hard on clicking?

  7. #7 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Thursday, 1 August 2013 - 10:47 pm

    dia dah semakin hampir denganNya.jika niatnya jahat dia akan terima balasan dari penciptaNya

    ahh,anjing pun makhluk ciptaanNya…

  8. #8 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 1 August 2013 - 11:37 pm

    If it was already agreed upon in the 1948 Federation of Malaya Constitution, then the Rulers would have also consented to it. So what is the issue here? Is Mahathir committing sedition by stirring up unnecessary racial and social sentiments? How did Mahathir’s ancestors who came from India get their citizenships?

  9. #9 by rjbeee on Thursday, 1 August 2013 - 11:54 pm

    How did mamak tongkang become a malaysia

  10. #10 by undertaker888 on Friday, 2 August 2013 - 7:30 am

    Nobody is having an issue here except this [email protected] from Kerala and his apprentices.

  11. #11 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Friday, 2 August 2013 - 9:14 am

    MonsterO’mamak is trying to justify the hundreds of thousands of unqualified citizenship that were granted by him using his creation – the monster brand bumi baking machine.

    That is all he is doing.

    And of course he needs to cover up all his follies and wrongdoings in a big way. That is why he is fighting hard to keep umno afloat.

  12. #12 by Adeline on Friday, 2 August 2013 - 5:11 pm

    Can we please ask Dr. M to keep quiet and not contribute to the PM’s problems? Our Pm is having so many problems that his wife cried publicly earlier. The note to the pm is that if he is unable to solve the country’s problems and his wife has to come out to appeal to one and all, then perhaps it is time for him to quit acting like a pm.

  13. #13 by marcus aurelius on Monday, 5 August 2013 - 12:39 am

    Our forefathers who have been given the citizenship have contributed to nation building of beloved nation, and their descendants carry on by contributing to this society. My question: what Dr M is trying to raise here? It is a fact in our history and all Malaysians know it.

  14. #14 by Erika on Monday, 5 August 2013 - 5:46 pm

    Are you joking Adeline? Mahathir will kick out Najib? I think you all still dreaming..

    Najib will never ever be fire by Mahathir or Umno. I bet all my fingers to be cut for that to happen. Looks like you all didn’t know that Najib is currently follow Mahathir style of autocratic.

  15. #15 by M. Vivekananda on Friday, 23 August 2013 - 1:50 am

    Kudos to the writer for having debunked Tun Dr M’ahathir’s misleading and mischievous claim with a succintly written piece supported with salient facts and figures.
    Further, regarding “The Tunku having given citizenships to one million unqualified Chinese and Indians” as alleged by TDM, it should be pointed out that when he was Prime Minister from 1981 till 2003, among the additional portfolios held was as the Home Minister. Why was no action initiated to rectify and set straight this matter during his tenure when he had the power to do so? And why must this matter be raised at this point in time after more than fifty years? This is something fishy and smacks of malicious intent thinking that there would be nobody to clarify the matter.

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