We all know about the battle for citizenship of the children of Malaysian mothers registered with foreign fathers, or with children who were born overseas.
As a fellow JUICE Writer stated in a related article, despite the fact that women are the ones giving birth to children, they were not allowed to apply for citizenships for their offspring born overseas while Malaysian men were up until Dec 2021 – when the appellate court denied Putrajaya’s stay of execution application against a high court decision that confirmed Malaysian mothers’ equal rights to automatically confer citizenship to their overseas-born children.
Despite the landmark ruling, there are still reports of stateless children unable to get citizenship.
Hence, eyebrows were raised yesterday when Malaysian citizenship was given out to Sri Pahang FC’s midfielder, Lee Tuck, who is originally from England.
Lee said that he was “truly grateful to obtain Malaysian citizenship. It’s been a tough road with making sacrifices in order to get here, but this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass on.”
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While he was grateful for being granted such an honour on our Independence Day, not everyone was happy about it, with netizens pointing out the obvious contrast between his citizenship process and that of stateless children.
According to The Sun, Tuck has been playing in the Malaysia League (M-League) since 2017, when he joined Negeri Sembilan before moving to Terengganu FC in 2018 and Sri Pahang last season.
Malaysia has granted other three players Malaysian citizenships in the past; Mohamadou Sumareh, Liridon Krasniqi and Guilherme De Paula.
On Facebook, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh questioned if stateless children had to be professional football players to be granted citizenship.
In a separate post, she also said, “This is proof that all the reasons given to Malaysian mothers before this were plain pathetic excuses.”
In 2019, she noted that footballers could get their citizenship while playing here for five years whereas Malaysian-born stateless persons are only given their MyKad when they are senior citizens.
She also said with nearly 2,000 stateless children as of September 2019, the government should get its priorities right by giving citizenships to local people who deserved them first, according to FMT.
Malaysian netizens also weighed in, questioning why should the priority of citizenship be given to foreign athletes rather than those who have been waiting longer.
Some netizens even shared their own experiences with getting citizenship for their children.
Have a look below: