Recently there was a story splashed over the mainstream media about the plight of ex Malaysians unable to get citizenship as a British citizen due to a faux pas in the UK immigration law and also the misrepresentation of an obscure clause in the old colonial law which stated that those who were born in Melaka and Pulau Pinang before 1983 are given the status of British Overseas Citizens.
There was a confusion there. A British Overseas Citizen (BOC) is not equivalent to a British Citizen. A BOC do not have the right to live in the UK. Perhaps, those fools who tore up their Malaysian passports thought that it would be better off being a British citizen than being a Malaysian based purely on the fact that they thought it would be better living with their former colonial masters.
But first off, I need to alert Utusan Malaysia on their recent headline which I feel is totally wrong:
Let me be clear on this one.
Those who gave up their Malaysian citizenship, is no longer fit to be called Malaysians.
It is a definitive act of unpatriotism. You do not get along with the majority of the people here. Maybe because you do not know how to integrate. You resent the fate that befalls you. You loathe the country because of it hence, you do not love this country. That is why you disown it from your heart.
You then swore your allegiance and loyalty to another country. This NegaraKu is no longer your Negara. How much clearer you want it to be? Certainly, those who ‘tore up their passports and set off for Britain in the belief they could claim citizenship‘ in the UK are no longer Malaysians. So, why is Utusan calling them as our citizens?
Coming back to the issue at hand, any attempt to facilitate the return of these ungrateful lot into THIS COUNTRY should be stopped. Anifah Aman, in his capacity as the Foreign Minister had erred in his opinion that this lot are not unpatriotic.
Why do we want to welcome them back with open arms?
They even bad mouthed Malaysia by stating to a foreign news wire that ‘Ethnic Chinese in the two regions that were part of a British colony in the former Malaya, wary of discrimination under an independent nation dominated by Muslim Malays, had sought assurances they could resort to residing in Britain.’
Here we go again.. more Malay bashing by these former Malaysian chinese in a foreign media.
I guess all their well to do cousins who are still residing here should just pack their bags too then. Maybe they can follow your footsteps and work in restaurants all over the UK as well.
Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein said that:
“people who had renounced their Malaysian citizenship would be treated the same way as any foreigner when they applied for it.
And it could be even harder as their applications would cast doubts on their intentions and loyalty to the country, he added.
Hishammuddin said it was sad that there were people who renounced their citizenship without understanding the severity of their action.
“When they realise that the situation in the other country was not what they had hoped for, it is not easy to reverse their decision. I hope that people can take this as a lesson.”
When Hishamuddin was the Education Minister, I found him very meek in facing certain issues. But here he had made the right statements. It is the government’s job to ensure the security aspects of the nation. We can’t simply give away our citizenship to any Tom, Dick and Harry especially when this Tom, Dick and Harry found this country not good enough for them in the first place.
People must not treat citizenship in vain. It is not as a TESCO card where they give it away at the counter.
Therefore I found it quite odd for a member of a Bar Council – Edmund Bon to arrogate himself as the security expert when urging the government to take back these stateless people.
if the British government did not want to take them, then the best solution would be for the Malaysian government to give them back their citizenship.
“If they are willing to apply for Malaysian citizenship and can prove that they were born here and were Malaysian citizens before, then the government should take them back.”
We should just take them back???
Whoa! Wait a minute. Why should we bear the responsibilities of a mess created by the British? The less unpatriotic people we have in this country, the better.
Edmund Yeo, a Malaysian citizen who is an elected councillor in Ealing, West London, says that only the British government can now resolve the dilemma.
“The British government gave them that right, they were born and you called them BOC in Malaysia… and now you want to remove yourself from this problem, that’s not right,” he told AFP in his office near London’s Chinatown.
Ben Scaro, an Australian lawyer who advocates their cause, says the situation became messier as cases were left unresolved for years, and letters sent in 2005 told applicants they could not proceed unless they showed they had lost Malaysian citizenship.
As a result, a large number of BOCs including Dee renounced their Malaysian citizenship — a process that is extremely difficult to reverse.
“The British Home Office effectively orchestrated the BOCs’ statelessness,” Scaro said.
There you have it.
Malik Imtiaz concluded his assessment over these stateless ‘Malaysians’ (stateless people should be the correct noun) when he said:
“If a Malaysian has gone through the renunciation process and followed the procedure, then the person is no longer a Malaysian citizen,” prominent lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar told AFP in Kuala Lumpur.
“Of course, Malaysia would not allow the citizen to renounce its citizenship without having another citizenship but as far as the government is concerned the British Overseas Citizenship, as its name implies, is another citizenship.
Being a part of a country is a big thing. Malaysia is your home and you should do all that is necessary, as guided by the Constitution, to make it your home.
Immigration director-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Othman, had made a profound statement which all Malaysians should adhere to –
“Think through before concluding that the grass is greener on the other side, because once you want out, you stay out“.
Being disloyal to your own country has its price. Please do not take that road.
But, if you really want to renounce your citizenship, then of course, I feel that the government should just let you go. The less unpatriotic people we have, the better remember? In fact, to facilitate your departure, a friend had proposed a “Reverse Patriotism Act”. Please do not be alarmed. It was made in jest.
If you do not know the ways on how to become a Malaysian, or you forgot the path every Malaysian decided to make at the birth of our nation, Demi Negara wrote an interesting article on what it takes to be one. You can read it here.