30-year wait pays off for elderly couple

PUTRAJAYA: The golden wedding anniversary next year of Saravanamuttu Vivekananda Rajah and his wife Logeswary, both 79, is going to be a joyous and meaningful one indeed! The couple were issued their Malaysian citizenship certificates yesterday, after a 30-year wait.“We are very happy and very much appreciate receiving the certificates after waiting for 30 years,” Saravanamuttu told reporters after Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had presented them with the certificates, here.

Saravanamuttu said he had applied for Malaysian citizenship previously but the application was rejected.

“But we did not give up hope. We were bent on staying in this country which has been our home,” he said.

When they read in the news that citizenship status would be accorded to those who were eligible, Saravanamuttu and Logeswary applied again and were joyfully rewarded.

Vivien Wong, 17, also expressed joy at getting her citizenship certificate.

Her mother, Chong Yen Foong, 45, went to the extent of waiting for six hours to meet Hishammuddin personally during the Umno general assembly in October to convey her problem to him.

Wong was born in Indonesia but her birth was neither registered with the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta nor with the National Registration Department in Malaysia after the family returned to Malaysia when she was six months old.

An attempt was made to register Wong as a Malaysian citizen when she was five years old and had to attend school.

Chong said Wong’s citizenship certificate was worth much more than even a RM1-million lottery win.

“Some of my friends told me that politicians cannot be trusted, but it has been proven in my case that politicians like Hishammuddin can be trusted and are sensitive to the people’s needs,” she said.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said a backlog of 32,927 applications for citizenship between 1997 and 2006 had been resolved.

Nevertheless, some cases could have been missed out, he said, and suggested that the applicants bring up the matter with the ministry.

He also said that the ministry might retain the 45 temporary staff, on top of the existing 180 permanent employees, who were recruited to expedite processing of the citizenship applications because their experience would come in useful in the processing of fresh applications.

Hishammuddin said the ministry’s staff would go to the Sarawak interior next week to resolve birth certificate problems of the people, especially the Penan, there. — Bernama

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