KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — A Malaysia-born man of Indian descent alleged he was stripped of citizenship due to the incongruity of his appearance and the Chinese name he was given by his adoptive parents.
Tang Woon Seng, 34, said he had obtained his MyKad at the age of 12 without any issues, but said the National Registration Department (NRD) withdrew his identity card when he was 18 years old.
“The skin colour that differed from the name caused my MyKad to be seized by the authorities and now I am holding a temporary identity card,” he was quoted as saying by local daily Harian Metro.
According to Harian Metro, he was adopted by a Chinese family in a village in Port Dickson where his adoptive father, Tang Kee Kwan, had registered himself as the biological father and raised him with his six adoptive siblings.
“I grew up as a Chinese and don’t even know how to speak Tamil. Many were curious when they found that I have a Chinese name, while my skin colour is dark,” he said, adding that he did not feel embarrassed as his villagers know of his history where his adoptive father took him in 34 years ago.
When Woon Seng was 18, the authorities took away his MyKad while he was applying to marry an Indonesian woman as they suspected him of using false information, but it was later discovered that his adoptive father had filled in the details for his birth certificate incorrectly.
“My adoptive father registered me as his biological son and did not know it was wrong. I did not face any problems when getting my MyKad at the National Registration Department (NRD) at the age of 12,” he said.
He said authorities have since then given him a temporary identity card that states that he is not a citizen, while his son was also registered at birth as non-citizen.
He has not been successful in his efforts to trace his biological family and is now at a loss at how he could restore his citizenship status.
NRD director-general Datuk Mohd Yazid Ramli was reported as saying that his department is carrying out further investigations on this case.
Woon Seng’s case appears to be similar to several ongoing court cases of Malaysia-born individuals that are currently stateless and seeking to be recognised by the government as Malaysian citizens. Some of the cases also involve Malaysia-born children who were adopted by Malaysian parents and with their biological parents unknown.
Lawyers have previously told Malay Mail Online that stateless Malaysia-born children adopted by Malaysians should be granted citizenship automatically.