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Don’t give up on children’s citizenship bid, Kok tells parents
Published on: Friday, March 01, 2024
By: FMT, Rex Tan
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Don’t give up on children’s citizenship bid, Kok tells parents
Seputeh MP Teresa Kok with three families that she helped to successfully obtain citizenship for their children.
Kuala Lumpur: A senior DAP MP has urged parents to continue persevering in applying for citizenship for their stateless children despite the difficult and time-consuming process.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said this at a press conference where she announced that three families had obtained citizenship for their children earlier this year with the help of her team over the past seven to 13 years.

“We hope to encourage parents who have given up on their application for citizenship (by sharing the stories of those who we helped),” she said.

Kok also revealed that home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail will be holding a briefing session with MPs next week regarding the proposed citizenship law amendment.

One of the key amendments – to strip the right to citizenship from stateless children and foundlings – drew criticism from human rights activists, NGOs and the Malaysian Bar.

On Feb 21, Saifuddin said the proposed constitutional amendments on the granting of citizenship will be presented to the Cabinet this month and, if approved, will be tabled before the Dewan Rakyat.

Stories of perseverance

The three families who were at the press conference with Kok today, related how they had almost given up before turning to her as a last resort.

Man Mohan Singh, a father from one of the families, expressed gratitude for his daughter, Manvinderpal Kaur, 11, finally receiving her citizenship after a decade-long wait.

Man Mohan applied for Manvinderpal’s citizenship after adopting her in 2013, but faced delays and unsatisfactory responses from the authorities.

“So we approached Kok and her team. Two weeks after we submitted an appeal to the home ministry, they called us to come over and we received a letter saying our application was successful,” he said.

Tan Su San said her two children, Daoud Haitham Gamal Abdelaziz Ragab, 8, and Mika Haitham Gamal Abdelaziz Ragab, 10, were initially denied citizenship as they were born in Egypt to an Egyptian parent.

Tan said she sought Kok’s help after the home ministry requested additional documents last year, and that their application was approved within weeks after submitting another letter this year.

Meanwhile, Siaw Sing Yee, 26, described her 13-year journey for citizenship as “gruesome and frustrating”.

Her initial application was rejected in 2013, leading her foster parents to seek Kok’s assistance. After Kok intervened with Saifuddin, she said they reapplied in August 2023 and the application was approved by the end of the year.

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