Home Ministry to review citizenship application steps, cut processing time to a year

Muhyiddin stressed that citizenship would not arbitrarily given out as it is the highest form of award in the country. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Muhyiddin stressed that citizenship would not arbitrarily given out as it is the highest form of award in the country. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUCHING, July 29 — Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today he has directed his ministry’s officials to review the standard operating procedure (SOP) for citizenship applications.

He said this is to ensure that every application can be expedited fairly following an examination.

“Under the proposed SOP, there will be clear guideline in processing and considering the citizenship applications, especially under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution to ensure that every decision made are based on the welfare of the children who apply for the citizenship status,” he said when handing over citizenship certificates to 31 successful applicants here.

“Apart from that, the time taken to process every application will also be shortened from three years to, the most, one year,” the home minister said.

Muhyiddin stressed, however, that citizenship would not arbitrarily given out as it is the highest form of award in the country.

“The award is offered to individuals who are really qualified based on the conditions and rules and regulations under Article 3 of the Federal Constitution, and subject to the Citizenship Rules 1964 and laws relating to registration of marriages, Immigration regulations and other laws in force,” he said.

Muhyiddin said the granting of citizenship is in line with the rule of law.

“As a matter of policy, every stage of procession, consideration and decision for the award of Malaysian citizenship to an individual must fulfil the conditions and rules which have been fixed, especially on the period of residency, fluent in Malay language and must be of good behaviour,” he said.

He said prior security checks on the backgrounds of the applicants would have to be made first to ensure that every application is genuine.

The home minister said that supporting documents submitted by the applicants will also be scrutinised on case-by-case basis before any decision is made.

He gave his assurance that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government will be fair in considering all applications.

He said any individual who is qualified under the Federal Constitution and related laws will be given due consideration without regard to race.

Muhyiddin also explained that he did not unilaterally decide on such applications, but was instead assisted by experienced and professional officers.

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