Long struggle over as 34 are granted citizenship

PUTRAJAYA: Teenager Gan Chun Kai was in high spirits as he put on a dapper suit in the morning – a rare occasion for the 14-year-old from Kuala Lumpur.

The St John’s International School student was dressed up for a special function at the Home Ministry’s headquarters in Putrajaya.

Since 2013, the boy’s adoptive parents Gan Soon Lee and Looi Mei Fong, both 53, have been embroiled in a wrangle with the National Registration Department (NRD) because their son is not a Malaysian citizen.

When Chun Kai was three years old, the couple adopted the child as their own from a male relative.

Chun Kai’s biological mother was an Indonesian citizen, and she was never married to his father – thus, putting the boy’s citizenship status in limbo.

Finally, after nine long years, the family can heave a sigh of relief as Chun Kai has been granted Malaysian citizenship by the NRD.

“I am extremely happy. I have been waiting for this moment for so long.

“It has been years and years of dealing with the NRD and plenty of bureaucracy issues. It was not easy and a lot of time, money and energy had to be put into all this.

Emotional: Rohana (right) is overwhelmed as she receives her citizenship while adoptive mother Chee looks on. — BernamaEmotional: Rohana (right) is overwhelmed as she receives her citizenship while adoptive mother Chee looks on. — Bernama

“But finally, it is all worth it because my son is finally a rightful citizen,” said a tearful Looi to The Star, after receiving the approval of her son’s citizenship application here.

Chun Kai was one of 34 individuals under 21 years of age who were awarded their citizenship at the ceremony at the Home Ministry yesterday. The event was officiated by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

A beaming Chun Kai said he was looking forward to representing his school in sports competitions – something he had trouble doing as a non-citizen.

“I have seen my parents go through so much difficulty over my application. There have been sad moments but finally there is a happy ending,” said Chun Kai, adding that he aspires to be a successful businessman in the future.

Also among the 34 who received their citizenship was Rohana Abdullah, a 22-year-old woman who was raised by 83-year-old former kindergarten teacher Chee Hoi Lan. Rohana is the daughter of an Indonesian woman who left her in Malaysia when she was two months old. Her plight was noticed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who promised to assist her citizenship application.

Meanwhile, Hamzah said the new citizens must pledge to uphold the five principles of the Rukun Negara.

“Being awarded a Malaysian citizenship is the highest honour the country can give,” he said.

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