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Saifuddin: Don't politicise citizenship briefings by state assemblymen

Publish date: Fri, 14 Jun 2024, 09:59 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has urged against politicising citizenship briefing and explanation programmes organised by state assemblymen service centres.

Addressing the issue, he emphasised that such programmes were not new and had been conducted during his tenure as an assemblyman.

"I have served multiple terms, and state assembly service centres, whether government or opposition, frequently receive requests from the public regarding citizenship applications," he said.

He highlighted that these requests often involved complex cases such as illegitimate children, adopted children, children born abroad, or children of parents married abroad. 

"There is no coordinated movement to grant citizenship wholesale, so let's not create unnecessary controversy," he added.

Saifuddin's remarks came in response to concerns raised about a citizenship briefing and explanation programme organised by Stulang assemblyman Andrew Chen Kah Eng, which was scheduled for June 30. 

He called for all parties to support assemblymen in performing their duties, including addressing citizenship issues, as part of their elected responsibilities.

He shared an example from Kelantan, where a local MP receives numerous citizenship complaints due to the proximity to the Thai border and cross-border marriages. 

"This morning, I received messages from a member of Parliament in Kelantan, who has received many complaints about citizenship issues.

"This is because his area is near Siam (the Thailand border), and there are many cases of marriages with locals. Therefore, when representatives organise such programmes, it should be viewed with clarity and understanding.

On June 8, the citizenship briefing and explanation event organised by Chen was reported to have been postponed after sparking controversy and public criticism. 

Chen, who is also Johor DAP secretary, clarified that the briefing was aimed at addressing citizenship status or birth certificate issues resulting from parental negligence or other factors.

The controversy arose after a programme poster went viral on social media, leading to misconceptions that the event aimed at granting citizenship to foreign immigrants in the state.

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