KUALA LUMPUR: A teenager’s 16-year wait for his Malaysian citizenship is over after it was finally approved last month.
Zheng Yu Xiang, 19, was born in 2004 in Tianjin, China, to a Malaysian mother and Chinese father.
After his parents divorced in 2007, he and his mother returned to live in Malaysia – where he had to rely on a student pass which he had to renew every year to continue living in the country.
He had applied for citizenship multiple times since 2007 to no avail.
His mother, Yeap Cheng Lin, 49, filed the fifth application in May last year and later brought her case to Seputeh MP Teresa Kok’s attention.
“Although I have stayed here since I was three, without (Malaysian) citizenship, I didn’t feel at home because the people around me treated me differently although I speak like other Malaysians,” he said at a press conference at Kok’s office today.
“I am glad I am a Malaysian citizen, and now I feel like I’m home.”
Yeap, who works at an audit firm, recalled having to renew her son’s student pass every year while having to endure the rejection of his citizenship applications.
Kok said the issue of lengthy citizenship applications is something that many MPs take seriously as they receive numerous applications on their tables.
She expressed her appreciation to home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and said she understood the workload endured by his office.
In October, Saifuddin said a total of 10,381 citizenship applications had been attended to since the beginning of the year, mostly involving cases of adopted children and children who were considered illegal immigrants.
In September alone, he said, a total of 9,539 citizenship applications were being considered by the government.