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Wednesday July 11, 2007

No getting back citizenship if you give it up


PUTRAJAYA: Think hard and long before giving up your citizenship. 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi warned that Malaysians who did so could not hope to get it back again. 

“The Home Affairs Ministry has made a decision to allow citizens to surrender their citizenship. The ministry has its own reasons to give their approval for this.  

“However, there is one thing that Malaysians must know and which I want to stress here. Those who have given up their citizenship cannot get it back if they suddenly want to become Malaysians again,” he told reporters after the Internal Security Ministry's monthly gathering here yesterday. 

Briefing for the PM: Abdullah and his wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah listening to an explanation on seized items by Mohd Rahimi Ibrahim from the publication control department of the Internal Security Ministry after the ministry’s monthly gathering in Putrajaya.
According to Deputy Home Affairs Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho, some 106,000 Malaysians had given up their citizenship between 1996 and April this year. 

Of the figure, 70% or 79,100 were Malays, 25,107 Chinese, 1,347 Indians and 350 of other races. Marrying a foreigner was the main reason given by women while most men cited better career options. 

The preferred top five destinations of ex-Malaysians were the United States, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia, according to Tan. 

Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said the high number of Malays emigrating was not a cause for concern but it would be good to know why they wanted to leave their homeland. 

Muhammad said the need to “move around and see places” was in their blood as their forefathers were seafarers. 

“In a sense, the Malays are just doing what their forefathers did. Travel and see the world. Venture into new areas and the unexpected,” he said. 

“Individuals of other ethnic groups also emigrated to other countries. Even the Chinese and Indians surrendered their Malaysian citizenship, so it should not be an issue if the Malays did so too,” he added.  

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