Stateless individuals to get one year window to apply for citizenship, says Home Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: An announcement will be made soon for stateless individuals to come forward and apply for citizenship, says Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

The Home Minister said his ministry is giving those without citizenship one year to register with proper documentation.

Hamzah said he will announce the mechanism on the matter soon but urged those who have not registered to do so as soon as possible.

“We got our independence in 1957 but I have some who are 63-years-old coming and telling me they still don’t have their citizenship.

“There is no logic in this, so I will give them one year, for everyone, with proper documentation and evidence to register so we can consider them as legal citizens, ” said Hamzah in his wrap up during the committee stage of Budget 2021 on Monday (Dec 14).

He said the issue, if prolonged further, would cause more problems in the future.

As such, the government wants to resolve the matter to ensure deserving people get their citizenship.

“We don’t want to politicise this issue, this is not a racial issue, this is a factual one.

“We must understand something, we love our country but if we blame only (National Registration Department) officers, why shouldn’t we blame ourselves as well (for not taking the necessary steps to register), ” he said.

Hamzah said individuals facing this dilemma can meet their respective MPs to help resolve the issue.

On the reports that a terror attack was being planned in India by a Malaysian-based group, allegedly linked to preacher Dr Zakir Naik, the Home Minister said the police will cooperate with all enforcement agencies abroad.

"If there is something that is needed by them, surely they will notify officially.

"So far, there is no official report from them.

"Once we receive it, we will ensure the necessary action will be taken," he said.

Earlier, Ramkarpal Singh (PH-Bukit Gelugor) had asked the Home Ministry to state the measures taken after reports that a terror attack was being planned in India by a group based in Malaysia.

The report linked controversial preacher Dr Zakir and Rohingya refugees here to the alleged terror attack.

“I ask for an explanation on this matter and on the role of Dr Zakir in this incident. Is the Perikatan Nasional government looking at this issue seriously?” he asked during the debates.

The allocation for the Home Ministry was approved via a simple voice vote.

Earlier, the allocations for the Defense Ministry was also approved through a voice vote.

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