IPOH: Thinking that it would help her 11-year-old niece get her Malaysian citizenship, businesswoman Yet Kam Yen and her husband adopted the girl as their own.
However, the girl, who has a Malaysian father and a Chinese national mother, still got her application turned down.
Yet, 39, is now worried about her niece’s future.
“She is not recognised as a Malaysian because her father was unable to register her after her mother ran away about a year after her birth.
“She will be 12 next year but is not likely to get her MyKad, which will cause her all kinds of inconveniences. Without her citizenship, she will not be able to set up a bank account, get insurance, and there will also be a lot of other complications later,” she said during a press conference held by Ipoh Barat MCA coordinator Low Guo Nan here yesterday.
“She is a very bright pupil but I fear for her future,” said Yet who declined to name the girl.
One of the requirements by the National Registration Department was for her niece to get her Chinese passport from the Chinese Embassy, said Yet.
“But she was born in Ipoh, so it was impossible for us to get the passport as her biological mother could not be located. We tried anyway but were turned away at the embassy,” she said, adding that she had thrice applied for her niece’s citizenship.
Noodle seller Han Choong Kong said he, too, had three citizenship applications for his 17-year-old son Han Kar Sing rejected.
“He’s finishing secondary school next year and hopes to continue his tertiary studies. He has also thought of studying abroad, but will not be able to do so without a passport,” he said.
Choong Kong said he could not register citizenship for his son – whom he had with his second wife, a Thai national – as he was in the process of divorcing his first wife and his second marriage was not registered yet.
“The process dragged on for two years and I could no longer apply for his citizenship,” he said, adding that his son was also born in Malaysia.
Low urged the Home Ministry to review and improve its standard operating procedure (SOP) for citizenship applications, adding that he would help both families.