11-year wait for citizenship finally over for Yu Sheng Meng

Tan Khek Pheng (center) and his son Yu Sheng Meng (left) speak to reporters at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Putrajaya September 27, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Tan Khek Pheng (center) and his son Yu Sheng Meng (left) speak to reporters at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Putrajaya September 27, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 27 — After more than a decade of being shunted between the courts and various government offices, 11-year-old Yu Sheng Meng was finally granted Malaysian citizenship.

Yu’s adopted father Tan Khek Pheng said this means the boy will no longer be discriminated against in school and not feel like a second-class citizen anymore.

“For any person who has gone through this process, it’s a difficult journey. For one, especially, I think those people in authority should understand their plight and feelings in society.

“You can see now that his citizenship has been approved, he’s a different person,” he told Malay Mail at the Home Ministry in Putrajaya today.

Tan, who was best friends with Yu’s original adopted father who has since died, was visibly proud and happy as he walked down the corridor with his son.

Yu was born in May 2008 to a Malaysian father and Indonesian mother in Penang.

He was then adopted in September the same year by Yu Meng Queng. However, he died in August this year after battling leukaemia and his son was then adopted by his legal firm partner, Tan.

Tan thanked the Home Ministry and the government, saying that Yu now has a brighter future and hopes this decision will pave the way for other stateless children in the country to become citizens.

“Before this, he didn’t know what to do... now he wants to be a doctor or maybe, an engineer. And he is really good with computers. And I think given the opportunity, it will open up the way for him.”

He also suggested that the Home Ministry streamline the process of granting citizenship to stateless children, especially those who have Malaysian parents such as Yu.

Lawyer Annou Xavier who represented Yu said, “I think it is worth the wait, and I think that the family is very grateful to the Home Ministry. At last he has become part of the big family in Malaysia,” he said.

Yu was granted citizenship under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution which provides special powers to the federal administration to register anyone under 21 years of age as a citizen.

He now has to wait two weeks before being able to apply for his first MyKid.

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