PUTRAJAYA: This coming Festival of Lights will be even brighter for Muniamah Rajalingam who can now proudly declare herself as a Malaysian after a 20-year wait.
“I came here (from India) as an infant during the Japanese Occupation.
“But to me, this is my tanah air (motherland).”
“Now, I have a blue IC (identity card) to prove it,” said an elated Muniamah, 86.
The mother of four said although it took a long time for her to obtain citizenship, it was worth the wait.
Muhyiddin said aside from upholding the law, security, harmony as well as sovereignty of the nation, new citizens must also be able to master Bahasa Malaysia as it is the national language.
“This is one important criterion for those who want to become a citizen. One must strive and show commitment in learning the language.
“I believe that being able to master Bahasa Malaysia is the key to unity in this diverse country,” he told the recipients.
As a concerned and caring government, Muhyiddin said the ministry would ensure the vetting and approval process would be carried out smoothly and as fast as possible, in line with Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto.
However, he said that the authorities would not compromise on the criteria and that only those who meet the conditions would be offered Malaysian citizenship.
“While we expedite the process, we need to look through each application to ensure citizenship is given to the deserving ones.
Between 1957 and May 30 this year, the government had awarded citizenship to 1,717,198 individuals.
Speaking to the media, Muhyiddin said that this year, the ministry had approved citizenship applications from 1,641 individuals out of 3,853 submissions.
On another issue, Muhyiddin said any decision to reopen investigations into the death of Teoh Beng Hock must come from the Attorney General’s Chambers.
Police would only initiate fresh investigations should there be a directive to do so, he said.
“This will have to come from the Attorney General’s Chambers.
“So far there is no directive,” he said in response to a statement by Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh who had asked the Home Minister to order the police to re-investigate Teoh’s death.
Teoh, 30, who was an aide to a Selangor exco member, fell to his death on July 16, 2009.
He was found on the fifth floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam after giving a statement at the Selangor MACC’s office on the 14th floor of the building.