KUCHING: It will be a double celebration this Chinese New Year for Kueh Meng Liang as he was finally granted citizenship after seven years of waiting.
The 19-year-old had submitted his first application in 2011 but was rejected by the National Registration Department.
Over the years, Meng Liang resubmitted again several more times but all his applications were unsuccessful due to absence of supporting documents.
One of the reasons was that the teenager never knew who his biological parents were.
They left him under the care of his 70-year-old grandmother before he was adopted by Kueh Siak Hock.
Back in 1999, Siak Hock and his wife met Meng Liang’s grandmother in Sibu. She then pleaded to the couple to adopt her grandson as she could not take care of him for long due to her age.
The couple agreed but hit a brick wall when applying for identification documents for Meng Liang as they could not trace his biological parents.
But with the assistance of a special committee set up by the Sarawak government with the Home Ministry to look into the issue of “stateless children”, Meng Liang would now be able to apply for a MyKad.
“I only have a birth certificate but my status is listed as a non-citizen.
“Over the years, I faced numerous problems especially while sitting for public examinations in my school,” Meng Liang said.
He said since he could not continue with his tertiary education, he opted to work.
Now, Meng Liang said the first thing he would do after getting “citizenship” status was to apply for a MyKad and driving licence.
“I hope to join an airline and become a cabin crew,” he said.
Meng Liang was among 42 other applicants, who received their Malaysian citizenship during a ceremony yesterday.
Another family with the same predicament was Kuan Chon Foo.
Kuan’s applications to get his four children documented – Sze Nyun, 13, Nin Xuan, 12, Sze Jing, eight, and Nin Le, three – were finally approved.
The father of five has been trying to get his children’s identification documents sorted out since 2013.
“I did not register my marriage because my wife did not have a proper identification document.
“She was adopted at a young age,” said the electrician.
Kuan said he was very happy now that four of his children have been granted Malaysian citizenship status.
Kuan added that his wife Yue Lang, 34, was born in Sarikei and is currently waiting on her identification papers.
The couple had a fifth child last December.
Sarawak Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah presented the documents to the applicants.