Birth registration 'technicality' puts boy's citizenship in limbo

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Tan Jia Yi, 11, is facing difficulties in securing his citizenship, no thanks to a one day delay in registering his birth.

Tan was born to a Malaysian, Tan Ban Guan, and an Indonesian mother, according to The Star.

The couple, after facing months of hurdles in registering their marriage due to the difficulties in gathering the necessary documents, was finally told they could do so at the National Registration Department office in Ipoh, Perak, on July 26, 2005.

However, Ban Guan's wife went into labour the same day and by the time the couple turned up at the NRD office, it was too late and the officer on duty who was leaving the office, told them to come back the following day.

The couple did turn up the following day, but to no avail, said the report.
Ban Guan submitted the application for Jia Yi’s registration as a local born three times in the last four years. Jia Yi's three younger siblings are Malaysian citizens.

The boy, who will turn 12 in a few months time, is also in a limbo as his mother has also not registered his birth in her country.

Ban Guan, 45, an odd-job worker, is worried about his eldest son's future and claimed the boy was also bullied in school for being "different", resulting in his grades dropping.

The boy is also a talented volleyball player, but is being denied a chance to represent the state in tournaments due to his status.

His volleyball coach, Patrick Morton, who is also helping Ban Guan apply for citizenship for Jia Yi, said the boy was a "victim of circumstance", and expressed hope that the process to make the boy a citizen would take place sooner than a year, as stated by the NRD.

Jia Yi is very much aware of his predicament and said he was just like his siblings and friends, except that he does not have a MyKad.

"I want to continue attending school and one day, represent the country in volleyball," he is quoted as saying.

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