Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said they were also not given citizenship or permanent resident status but were only given the Resident's Pass to enable them to be in this country legally in line with the Regulation 16A, Immigration Regulations 1963.
"The Malaysian government will not give citizenship status automatically. This is because some of them had torn the Malaysian passport while they were abroad as they hated this country and did not want to come back because of this hatred, and some have stabbed the country in the back.
"They no longer have any loyalty (to this country).
"If holders of the Resident's Pass wish to regain their citizenship status, they need to undergo the process undergone by foreign nationals wishing to apply and must wait for 17 years and prove their loyalty to the country and fulfill the application requirements including the proficiency test in the Malay Language," he told reporters.
The media had earlier reported Tanjung MP Ng Wei Aik who said that the government had agreed to bring back more than 500 former Malaysian nationals who had given up their citizenship to become citizens of the United Kingdom (UK).
BOC passport holders are Malaysian citizens who have chosen to give up their citizenship to apply for a UK citizenship.
However, the British Nationality Act 1981 (BNA 1981) had been amended on July 4, 2002 whereby they would only be granted the UK citizenship if they were no longer Malaysian citizens on or before July 4, 2002.
Ahmad Zahid said the Resident's Pass was merely an approval given to foreigners to stay in Malaysia for a period of five years and could apply for extension every five years.
He said the pass must be applied for while the persons concerned were in the UK via the Malaysian High Commission in London, and would only leave for Malaysia after their application had been scrutinised and approved by the Malaysian Immigration Department (JIM). - Bernama