• 7828 individuals who won’t be spending Chinese New Year this year as Malaysians

    Opinion piece by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 5th of February, 2016

    7828 individuals who won’t be spending Chinese New Year this year as Malaysians

    The exodus among those going back to their hometowns to celebrate Chinese New Year has already begun. I’ll be staying put here in Selangor and enjoying the traffic, or the lack thereof. This year, however, I’ll be celebrating CNY with a little bit of a heavy heart due to a self-inflicted wound. One of the things I do every 3 months is to examine the quarterly electoral roll updates. To check on the number of newly registered voters, those who have changed their voting address and those who have been struck off the electoral roll. Recently, I was alerted by a colleague that a number of Malaysians have been taken off the electoral roll because they have been stripped of their citizenship (In BM: Dilucutkan kewarganegaraan). My curiosity was piqued. Were these individuals on some sort of terrorist watchlist which necessitated the removal of their citizenship? Were they guilty of some heinous crime such as treason? I had to investigate further.

    My findings were surprisingly and saddening. Firstly, I found that 7828 individuals who had lost their eligibility to vote because they were no longer citizens. These individuals were removed from the electoral roll in 2014 and 2015. As a comparison, the Returning Expert’s Program (REP) under Talentcorp managed to attract 3600 Malaysians to return home over the past four years.[1] This figure understates the number of Malaysians who have given up their citizenship over the past two years. It does not include those who have given up their citizenship but were never registered on the electoral roll. It almost certainly excludes those who have given up their Malaysian citizenship and have taken up citizenship in countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the other usual migration destinations for Malaysians. This list of names are almost certainly Malaysians who have given up their citizenship for Singapore citizenship because of the strictly enforced requirement that Malaysians who take up the Singapore citizenship needs to officially give up their Malaysian citizenship within a stipulated time.[2]

    Given the country of destination, it is not surprisingly that a majority of the 7828 individuals are Chinese (96.7%). The rest were Indians (2.7%), Malays (0.4%) and others (0.2%). The largest number of ex-Malaysians come from Johor (36.6%), followed by Perak (19.5%), Selangor (9.4%), WP Kuala Lumpur (6.7%), Melaka (5.6%), Penang (5.4%) and N. Sembilan (5.3%). (See Table 1 below)

    What is saddening is that these are ex-Malaysians who cared enough about the country that they registered as voters but for various reasons, decided to give up their Malaysian citizenship for greener pastures across the causeway. A majority of them also fall into the 30 to 50 age group (80.5%) which means that they are in the most productive years of their working life (See Table 2 below).

    56% of these ex-Malaysians are women while 44% are men. Without additional information, it is hard to gauge the reasons behind this gender difference e.g. the nature of their qualifications and jobs, whether they gave up their citizenship because of marriage reasons and so on.

    Aside from these statistics, what saddened me the most was when I spotted a name on the list which looked familiar. He is almost certainly an ASEAN scholar from my year. A Klang boy, he is now a medical specialist in infectious diseases and currently works in a government hospital in Singapore. His case is but the tip of the iceberg of talented ex-Malaysians who have left the country and are thriving elsewhere.[3] What makes this reality more ‘real’ (and hence, sadder) for me personally is seeing a name which I recognized.

    If any ex-Malaysian is reading this piece, I hope that you haven’t totally given up on our country. Perhaps in the future, when there has been a change in government in Malaysia, you’ll be motivated to come back and contribute in some way. And if you are coming back to Malaysia for Chinese New Year, travel safe and eat well!

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] http://english.astroawani.com/malaysia-news/about-3-600-malaysians-overseas-have-returned-talentcorp-71312

    [2] http://www.kln.gov.my/web/sgp_singapore/other_information/-/asset_publisher/2TQe/content/renunciation-of-malaysian-citizenship?redirect=%2Fweb%2Fsgp_singapore%2Fother_information

    [3] For a more general report on Malaysians who have taken up Singapore citizenship, read here: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/bidding-farewell-to-malaysia

  • 我感到很失望,因为国际贸易和工业部部长慕斯达法没有勇气接受我的挑战来成立特选委员会,以便专门监督TPPA的落实

    (2016年1月27日)沙登区国会议员王建民博士的新闻文告

    我感到很失望,因为国际贸易和工业部部长慕斯达法没有勇气接受我的挑战来成立特选委员会,以便专门监督TPPA的落实。

    今早在我针对TPPA的课题发表讲话时,基于TPPA会在2016年2月4日签署后的2年内很大可能性被顺利批准,因此我挑战贸工部部长成立一个特选委员会,以便在日后监督TPPA被落实的过程。

    不像其他的自由贸易协定,TPPA在获得参与国家批准前,将一共要涉及17项法案中的27种修正。所以,我提议的特选委员会将对进行法案修正的过程给予监督和意见,以确保它们都符合国际的最佳做法。再来,这委员会还会对政府各部门可以在不需要通过国会批准下所进行的规则和程序修改和变化进行监督。此外,委员会还将发挥其角色来确保美国在某种程度上是公平地进行认证的工作,不会有特殊利益份子在途中试图影响整个进程。最后,如果委员会发现这过程中出现不符合我们国家利益时,它们也有权力来建议部长退出批准的程序。

    令人遗憾的是,部长在他的总结致词中并无接纳这项建议。因此,这意味着批准TPP的工作将在一个不完全透明和负责任的方式来完成。同时,这也将抵消部长和贸工部之前通过公众参与活动来解释TPPA所建立的可靠信誉。

    无论如何,部长要接纳这建议还为时未晚。在此,我促请在2016年2月4日前往纽西兰的奥克兰签署TPPA前,部长能宣布设立上述所建议的特选委员会。

    王建民博士
    沙登区国会议员

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