Malaysian Citizenship: One Million met the Criteria

July 31, 2013

Malaysian Citizenship: One Million met the Criteria

by S. Sundareson(07-30-13)@

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.”

the-man-behind-perkasa1 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.

TunkuAbdulRahmanHere 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.

15 thoughts on “Malaysian Citizenship: One Million met the Criteria

  1. Thanks for clarifying this issue of Malaysian citizenship which Tunku granted to 1 million people at the time of Independence. Mahathir tried to justify his decision to grant citizenship to Filipinos and Indonesians in Sabah. Tunku had a different motive from Mahathir’s.–Din Merican

  2. Yes thanks Mr Sundaresan . Timely intervention and very professional portray of facts. Well done old school. I hope someone one day will be charged for treason. Damm his soul! Let the Tunku’s soul rest in peace. Amen.

  3. Thats because only he saved Malaysia by giving thousands of citizenships to unqualified immigrants during his 22 years of treating this his private colony. I feel insulted as my parents gave all to his colony only to be called pendatangs.GTH to you M.

  4. Kutty tried hard to change history hoping one day he could become President of Malaysia Republic………..Well he succeeded to be President of Malaysia Inc. and became the richest man in Msia out beating Brunei Sultan as it was reported by some media………..but then his time is shorter now.

    Its amazing at 88, he still harbor much discontent and hatred. It makes our Bapa Malaysia even more remembered and loved and Tunku’s spirit lives on. Can TDM beat that?

    So we now have 1m new people in Sabah on the ratio of ? 1:2 or 1:4 Sabahan? The Sabahan themselves have to be blamed for their weakness and greed of a few who could be bought.

  5. Mugabe is trying hard to be the President of Zimbabwe for the umpteenth time. This Kerala cloth merchant is trying equally hard to outdo Mugabe. Like they say, bird of a feather flocks together.

    In his 22 years at the helm he has managed to turn this country into a South East Asian Zimbabwe. The good and young die first but the evil and old live on. That is the sad truth.

  6. The only difference between the granting of Malaysian citizenship by Tunku and by Mahathir is this. Tunku did it as a result of consensus, openly arrived at, legally, and openly. Mahathir did it illegally and surreptitiously.

  7. My family knew Tunku and what Mahathir says is a LIE and completely illogical. Tan Cheng Lock was already fighting for Chinese citizenship from the start of MCA. Onn Bin Jaffar initially kept his distance from Tun Tan because of his own problems with his party and it was Tunku, realizing independence was not possible without all community, who reached out to him as partners for independence. Tunku was a supporter of UMNO-MCA alliance from the start that began in KL even though his rural base in Kedah did not. Its recorded that his condition for accepting UMNO Presidency was acceptance of Alliance and made it clear that independence was impossible without the other races. How could he hessitated? Tunku did not hessitated, merely proposed that jus soli be given after independence.

    Mahathir just looks more and more suited to be back in Kerala the more he opens he mouth.

  8. Thank you very much for the clarification on this issue of citizenship which had been intentionally and with much evil in his heart twisted and interpreted to suit his own evil ambition by this kutty fella.

  9. While it’s good that someone in the know clarifies the dys-historical accounts of Octo, i basically think that we are barking up the wrong tree (p.s., nowadays dogs are prohibited, so forgive this metaphor).

    Octo is basically just trying to reinforce his weird, confabulated and convoluted logic for his OWN audience. I don’t think, whatever that’s commented here is of any significance to them, who have no idea what conscience, justice, ethics, morality and (yes) even religion is all about. After 3 generations of scratching their crotches – it becomes a mutation – no longer a trait or habit. They will enthusiastically proclaim: ‘Heil Octo!’ – then proceed to scratch their bottoms, in anticipation of further largesse from UMNOb..

  10. A well written piece. After almost more than 40 years the writer’s meticulousness in providing the details is simply amazing, which goes to show that civil servants entrusted with such an onerous responsibility during the Tunku Abdul Rahman era were extremely competent and dedicated, serving the nation with integrity, distinction and honour. That was the culture of a bygone era. Present day civil servants are corrupt and devoid of any understanding of principle, duty, honour and public service. That is a disgrace. To boot, the majority of these civil servants are Malays.

    Debunking Mahathir is not enough. That liar and corrupt dictator must be told in uncertain terms to stop fanning hatred and discord. But Najib has no b–s to deal with this political menace.In this sense, Badawi was better. During his term of office, he made sure that Mahathir did not speak up in public and also cancelled, for example, the crooked bridge to Singapore.

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