PETALING JAYA: While home minister Hamzah Zainudin has promised to look into the plight of stateless Rohana Abdullah, a 22 year-old woman adopted by a Chinese mother after being abandoned at birth, an MP wants a total revamp of the citizenship laws.
“I am touched by the story of Rohana.
“I have instructed my officers to investigate the veracity of it before we can make any decision,” Hamzah said on his Facebook.
The media reported the story of Rohana, who was abandoned by her biological mother — an Indonesian — at the kindergarten where her adoptive mother, Chee Hoi Lan, was working.
Though single, the kindergarten teacher had a heart big enough to take on the task of bringing Rohana up, ensuring at the same time that she was given a proper religious upbringing.
Rohana said she had been applying for citizenship since 2016 but had not received any response so far.
In welcoming the move, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said the government should not look at citizenship applications on a case-by-case basis as there were numerous other stateless people facing the same plight.
“The government should review the laws and policies involving citizenship matters. There are so many other similar cases.
“In all these stateless matters, the children involved are innocent,” Yeoh said in a Twitter post.
The issue of the huge backlog of applications for citizenship by stateless people born in the country came to public attention after a court decision in their favour recently.
Several mothers and the NGO Family Frontiers had filed a suit to declare several provisions in the Federal Constitution involving citizenship as invalid, as they were discriminatory towards women.
The High Court held that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers who are married to foreigners are entitled by operation of law to be citizens of Malaysia.
After the mothers won their case in the High Court last year, the government filed an appeal against the decision.