PUTRAJAYA: The National Registration Department (NRD) has lodged a police report against a blogger for accusing it of handing out citizenships to illegal immigrants.
NRD deputy director-general (operations) Jasri Kasim said the post was not only defamatory, but could also affect racial harmony and spark public unrest.
"The accusation towards NRD is false and damaging towards the department's image and reputation. NRD takes this matter seriously, as the issue has gone viral on the internet and causing confusion among members of the public," said Jasri to reporters outside the Putrajaya police headquarters here.
The posting, dated July 19, by a Facebook user named "Tun Carlos", was accompanied with photographs of a large group of elderly people taken at the NRD headquarters in Putrajaya here.
Also used in the post was a screenshot of an unrelated news article from a Malay daily with the heading, "Home Ministry considers citizenship application of 55,000".
A second posting by the same user on July 21 referred to the earlier post and had written: "They are China nationals who have been hiding in Pulau Ketam, Selangor."
Jasri explained that the photos were of a group of people who were brought to NRD by the MySel Unit from the Selangor state government.
"This is an initiative by MySel to help residents of Pulau Ketam, who have difficulties to come to NRD for various applications.
"They come to do all sorts of applications, including MyKad, birth certificate and is not limited to just citizenship matters," he said.
Other photographs which depicted a huge crowd of people at NRD, said Jasni, was only a typical daily setting at the headquarters.
Jasri also stressed that the NRD processes citizenship applications from all races and not just one particular ethnicity in the country.
"Only those who are eligible and fulfil certain requirements are allowed to apply for citizenship. However, awarding citizenship is still subject to the provisions of federal law.
"A citizenship status is the highest award a government can give to a foreigner, and it could not be handed out arbitrarily," he said.
Jasri added that the NRD would also lodge a report with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission on the matter.