by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 7th April 1993:
Call on Cabinet to adopt a liberal citizenship policy to grant citizenship to all local-born red identity card holders who are above 18 years of age
Two day ago, Deputy Home minister, Datuk Megat Junid Megat Ayob, said in Teluk Intan that all red identity card holders who had been resident in Malaysia for over 12 years and who could pass the Bahasa Malaysia oral test could become Malaysian citizens.
There is nothing new or helpful in this announcement to the large numbers of red identity card holders who had not been successful in their citizenship applications, in particular to those who had conscientiously learnt Bahasa Malaysia but only to be failed at the Bahasa Malaysia oral tests because they could not answer the many ‘trick’ questions put to them during the oral tests, like the name of Rulers, or the uncommon names of different parts of a flower or body in Bahasa Malaysia.
Datuk Megat Junid was not being fair when he accused locally-domiciled red identity holders of not being serious in Bahasa Malaysia when Bangladeshi labour could learn Bahasa Malaysia after six months.
I am sure all the Bangladeshi labour would fail the Bahasa Malaysia oral test if they have also to answer the ‘-trick’ questions.
In fact, the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, will also fail if he has to sit for the citizenship Bahasa Malaysia oral test ‘trick’ questions.
To be fair to Liong Sik, he is not alone.in this. I have no doubt whatsoever that all MCA and Gerakan Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and MPs would also fail these Bahasa
Malaysia oral test ‘trick questions’ if they have to give the Bahasa Malaysia terms for uncommon parts of the body or flower, or the name of Rulers.
It is unfair, unjust and even highly discriminatory to deny citizenship to long-resident red identity card holders, failing them on Bahasa Malaysia ‘trick’ questions.
Bahasa Malaysia citizenship oral test should test whether an applicant understands simple and basic Bahasa Malaysia for everyday purposes, and not to test their ability to spot and answer ‘trick’ questions which even MCA and Gerakan Cabinet Ministers do not know.
If the Bahasa Malaysia citizenship oral test is to test whether an applicant understands simple and basic Bahasa Malaysia for everyday usage purposes, the percentage of failures would be minimal.
DAP calls on the Cabinet to adopt a liberal citizenship policy to grant citizenship to all local-born red-identity card holders who are above 18 years i.e. all -those born. before 1975 and not to allow the citizenship Bahasa Malaysia oral test to be an I obstacle hurdle’ for citizenship applications.
It is clearly not justice when illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries are -treated better than citizens when long¬-resident local-born red-identity card holders – even those who are in their fifties and sixties – are denied Malaysian citizenship because of unfair administrative measures.