Citizenship application: Most of the elderly fail Malay language test

23 Oct 2023 04:04pm
Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail - BERNAMA
Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail - BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR - Most applicants for citizenship among the elderly fail the Malay language proficiency test, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the Malay language proficiency test is one of the requirements in the application for Malaysian citizenship.

"In other countries, their best practices require a mastery of the official language or speech of the country concerned, that is, those who apply for citizenship are required to be able to speak the official language of the country that they sought after.

"(At KDN) The failing score (in Bahasa Melayu proficiency test) is ‘1’ and the passing score is ‘8’... sometimes those who score only a ‘2’ can be thankful that we pass them... most of the older applicants are usually only fluent in their mother tongue... this is one of the constraints that the Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) faces,” he said during the question-and-answer session in the Dewan Rakyat.

He said this when answering a supplementary question by Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng (BN-Tanjung Piai) regarding the applications of senior citizens not being approved and taking a long time to be approved.

Earlier, responding to an additional question from Lo Su Fui (GRS-Tawau) regarding the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (KDN) alleged lack of seriousness regarding the issue of citizenship status applications, Saifuddin Nasution replied that in 10 months, a total of 10,381 citizenship applications had been attended to, with the majority of cases involving child applications.

"Most of the applications involve cases of adopted children and illegal children...they cannot go to school and have to pay expensive hospital bills (because they do not have citizenship status).

"We tell KDN officials to resolve this first, (but) instead we were accused of approving tens of thousands of citizenship applications for Chinese nationals, this is mischievous,” he said.

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Responding to Lo’s original question regarding a solution to the issue of residents not having complete documents for a citizenship application, Saifuddin Nasution said several initiatives were implemented such as the (NRD field programme) ‘Program Menyemai Kasih Rakyat’ (Mekar) to help people in rural areas obtain complete documents and related citizenship application matters - BERNAMA

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