Review citizenship granted to 1.75 million non-Malays from 1957 to 1970, Malay group says

Bertindak secretariat head Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz said that the group would be challenging the citizenship of 1.75 million Malaysians granted between 1957 and 1970. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 — A newly formed Malay-Muslim movement today said that it would be challenging the citizenship of 1.75 million Malaysians granted between 1957 and 1970.

This is following uproar over the government’s move to grant permanent residency to controversial Salafist preacher Dr Zakir Naik, as revealed by deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi this month.

Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, the secretariat head for Barisan Bertindak Melayu Islam (Bertindak) alleged that the granting of the said status had violated the stipulated terms under the Federal Constitution, warranting a review.

“The secretariat in the meeting had agreed to consider few legal actions which we have been weighing and refining to be executed.

“For example, to review, with regards to the non-Malays citizenships which was given by the Malaya government in 1957 last time, whether or not it followed the laws of citizenship as stipulated under the Constitution.

“Truthfully, legal violations were found, based on research done. Therefore, we have been given the mandate to initiate legal action to question the granting of citizenship to non-Malays,” Mohd Khairul said.

He said that Schedule 1 of the Federal Constitution stipulates the taking of an oath of loyalty before citizenship if granted to a person here.

He alleged that this procedure however, was bypassed between 1957 and 1970, making 1.75 million people eligible for Malaysian citizenship.

“This was not done, so we will check whether this process is in violation of the Federal Constitution, and we want to review the granting of citizenship to the non-Malays, which were given at that time.

“This is a legal issue which needs to be brought to court and we want the court to decide,” he added.

The press conference was also attended by Perkasa members, lead by its chief, Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ali.

“If you disturb us, we disturb you la,” Ibrahim Ali said, interjecting, seemingly as a warning to the non-Malays.