Special Officer to the Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Lau Yeng Peng, announced yesterday that in a move to speed up citizenship application, the Home Ministry has set a time frame of between three months and two years to process every application.
This means that within two years, stateless people will be given a definite answer on their application status, and those whose applications are rejected for any reason will be allowed to file a fresh application.
“Last time, applicants had to wait for many, many years before they could even get an answer as to whether their applications were approved or rejected. And there was no avenue for appeal,” Datuk Lau had said.
Under the new move, he assured that the ministry would try to resolve every application between three and six months and not exceed more than two years.
“Those whose applications are rejected can immediately file a fresh application and have their applications processed again.”
I welcome such a move and urge the Home Ministry to always be efficient, fair and transparent in processing citizenship applications.
According to media reports, over the last few months, there have been a number of cases where applicants who have waited for even more than 30 years have been successful in getting their citizenship.
However, there are still many applicants who have failed a few times in their applications and there are many applicants who have waited for more than 30 years.
Last year, MCA set up a Citizenship Task Force Service Centre to compile cases of those having difficulties with their Malaysian citizenship application.
Last month, MCA has again set up a special task force headed by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong to help Malaysian Chinese yet to become Malaysian citizens to apply for citizenship status.
This goes to show that despite various media reports in recent months carrying pictures of successful applicants showing their gratitude by hugging a grinning Home Minister, citizenship woes remain for many.
It is unfair and tormenting for any deserving applicant to have to wait for 2 years to have their applications approved, yet there are so many who have waited long years.
Home Ministry must therefore strive to be efficient, fair and transparent in processing the applications by adopting the following measures:-
1. Publishing the standard criteria one has to meet to be granted Malaysian citizenship
2. Every application shall have its receipt acknowledged
3. No application shall be left idle
4. Time taken to process each application must not exceed 6 months. In special cases where a decision cannot be made within 6 months, the reason must be conveyed to the applicant in black and white
5. A specific and clear reason must be given when an application is rejected
Press Statement by M Kulasegaran, DAP National Vice Chairman, Perak Deputy Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat on Friday, September 03, 2010 in Ipoh, Perak.