Malaysiakini Letter

Allow migrants a chance at the M'sian Dream

Dr San Oo Aung
Published:  |  Modified:

The present Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, commented that if Singapore continued with the old procedure of giving citizenship, Singapore would become an old folks' home for its Permanent Resident holders. So he started offering PR to professionals who had completed two years' work in Singapore. It is therefore possible to get Singapore citizenship within five years. Thus, new Singapore citizens could sever their umbilical cords from their old countries and give full loyalty to Singapore.

To become or to be labeled as a professional in Malaysia and after graduation with a recognised degree from a recognised university, we must have at least a few years of working experience. Doctors must have five years' experience before applying for a job in Malaysia. Then after passing stringent rules and regulations and sometimes even special examinations set by the relevant authorities in Malaysia, these professionals are accepted to work here. But they are eligible to apply for Malaysian PR only after five years.

Then after a dozen years of struggling, these foreign professionals are accepted as Permanent Residents and receive the Malaysian red identity card. Only after exactly twelve years of getting PR, these red IC holders are eligible to apply for Malaysian citizenship. The process could take at least another dozen years and most of the first-generation migrants usually to Malaysia died before they were accepted as Malaysian citizens.

In most of the developed countries, migrants could get a Green Card or PR within two years and citizenship after five years. PR holders or new citizens in Malaysia cannot even sponsor their parents and siblings to follow them to migrate to Malaysia, not like other countries around the world. And children of PR are totally ignored or never considered at all for government scholarships or government loans.

We wish to request the Malaysian government to review and totally revamp the Permanent Residency (PR/red IC) and citizenship (blue IC) granting process. Permanent Residency should be automatically approved after 10 years of stay in Malaysia to all the professionals and those who are married to Malaysians unless they are in breach of clearly written rules and regulations, have a criminal record, pose a threat to national security or such things.

Citizenship (blue IC) should be automatically approved after 20 years of stay in Malaysia to all professionals and those who are married to Malaysians on condition that they have not contravened the abovementioned rules. After 20 years of survival in Malaysia, they should be exempted from the Bahasa Malaysia test too.

In Malaysia, because some of the Indonesian militants in the Bali bombing were holding Malaysian PR and using Malaysian-issued Certificate of Identification (in lieu of passports), the Malaysian immigration authorities has even stopped issuing these travel documents to Malaysian PR holders forcing them to go apply for these documents from their country of origin.

We don't want to look back over our shoulders nor maintain the umbilical cord with the country which we left. As it now stands, we cannot plan for our future because of the Malaysian government's very strict policy on citizenship rules. Our wish to give our undivided full loyalty to our adopted new home, Malaysia, currently cannot be fulfilled.

Please give us and our children a future, a hope. Kindly liberate us from the past shadows by granting us independence from the land we left. Please change and expedite the present very slow process by offering full citizenship and blue identity cards. Then we all could give our undivided loyalty to our new land, Malaysia, and work for our mutual progress and prosperity without looking over our shoulders.

Malaysia's unity in diversity makes the present Malaysia progressive and peaceful. And though we Burmese migrants - including Burmese Muslims - may each resonate differently, most of us are Malaysian-ised. Although we may differ a little bit, our hearts and minds are filled with love for all things Malaysia.

Acceptance as Malaysians would be our children's turning point. We had left a ruthless r é gime that had shown us all its animosities. Please kindly consider giving our young innocent children at least a chance to dream the Malaysian Dream. Please do not shut down their future. Please give us and our children a future, a hope, a chance.

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