Last chance saloon for 72-year-old disabled man to gain Malaysian citizenship

BUKIT MERTAJAM: This may be the last try for a 72-year-old disabled man to gain Malaysian citizenship after 30 years of failed attempts.

Suffering from hearing impairments and speech difficulties, A. Anthony was taken by his son A. Francis, 44, to get help from the citizenship program administered by the Penang government during a roadshow on Sunday.

Francis said his dad had tried to obtain citizenship since he was young but failed at every turn.

He said this was because his father could not prove he was born in Alor Star, Kedah.

He said he even went to the Alor Star Hospital to trace the birth documents but had to leave empty handed.

"I feel helpless but my father wants to try one more time and we hope he will be successful this time," he added.

Francis said life was difficult for his dad who could not get a proper job due to his statelessness and so had to make a living via labour or contract work.

"He cannot even apply for welfare assistance even though he has hearing problems and is visually impaired," he added.

L. Neela, 69, a red Mykad holder said she was born in Parit Buntar, Kedah, but could not get citizenship as she was unable to produce her birth certificate nor pass the Bahasa Malaysia test.

She hoped the federal government can look into her plight and help her get her citizenship so that she enjoy benefits.

In launching the roadshow, Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy said 44 applicants, out of 654 the program is helping, have obtained their citizenship as at Jan 30 this year.

He said the other applications were still being processed by the relevant authorities and he was hoping for the best.

"The purpose of this program is to take proactive measures to assist those facing difficulties in applying for citizenship, especially those in the lower income group and rural areas," he added.