Malaysia Citizenship Law

Malaysia Citizenship Law

Let’s begin by defining what a citizenship is, it is basically a native or a person that has been naturalized that owns their allegiance to, they are also entitled to the protection from their government as well as to exercise their civil rights. A citizenship is the status that is granted to a citizen along with its rights and duties. The Citizenship Rules 1964 is the main legislation that governs the citizenship in Malaysia.

Who is considered to be a citizen of Malaysia?

By operation of the law those that were born before Malaysia Day who is a citizen of Malaysia by virtue of these provisions and they include;

  • Every person that was born within Malaysia on or after Merdeka Day and before October 1962

  • Every person that was born outside of Malaysia on or after Merdeka Day whose father was a citizen at the time of his birth and they were either born in Malaysia or were at the time of their birth in the service under the Government of Malaysia or of the State.

  • Every person who immediately before Merdeka Day, was considered to be a citizen of Malaysia by virtue of any of the provisions that are found in the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948, whether it was by operation of law or otherwise.

  • Every person that was born within Malaysia after September 1962 of whose parents where one of them was at least at the time of the birth either a citizen or a permanent resident of Malaysia or who was not born of a citizen of any other country.

  • Every person that was born outside of Malaysia during or after Merdeka Day whose father was a citizen of the country at the time of his birth and if the birth was within 1 year of the occurrence or within such a longer period as in any particular case was or is allowed by the Government of Malaysia, a registered at a consulate of Malaysia, or if it had occurred in Singapore, Brunei, Sarawak or North Borneo then it would have been registered with the Federal Government.

Every person that was born on or after Malaysia Day and they also have any of the qualifications as specified in the following list;

  • Every person that was born outside of Malaysia whose father was at the time of this birth a citizen and was either born in Malaysia or was at the time of the birth was in the service of the Federation or the State.

  • Every person that was born in the neighboring country of Singapore whose parents (one of them at least) at the time of the birth was a citizen and who was not born a citizen otherwise than by virtue of this particular paragraph.

  • Every person that was born within Malaysia where at least one of the parents was at the time of birth was a citizen or a permanent resident of Malaysia.

  • Every person that was born outside of Malaysia whose father at the time of birth was a citizen and whose birth is, within 1 year of the occurrence or within such a longer period as the Malaysian Government may in any particular case allow, who have registered at a consulate of Malaysia or if it had occurred in Brunei or any other territory that has been prescribed for the purpose by the order of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, registered with the Malaysian Government.

  • Every person that was born within Malaysia who is not born of a citizen of any other country otherwise than by the virtue of this particular paragraph.

How can someone become a citizen of Malaysia?

There are two ways where someone can become a citizen of Malaysia and they include;

  • By naturalization – Naturalization basically refers to a process of admitting an alien, which is a person who is not a citizen of Malaysia to citizenship.

  • By registration – This particular process refers to a person that is a citizen of the country by law but has not yet registered and that person shall be entitled to the citizenship once they have applied and registered to become a citizen of Malaysia.

However you should take note that the granting of the citizenship is subject to the requirements and conditions that have been set by the Federal Government.

What is a certificate of citizenship?

A certificate of citizenship is basically a certificate that certifies that a person is a citizen of Malaysia either by naturalization or registration. Form G is used to issue a certificate of citizenship.

I was born in Malaysia before Merdeka Day but I did not register as a citizen of Malaysia. Is it possible for me to register as a citizen now and how can it be done?

According to Article 16 of the Constitution, any person that is of or over the age of 18 that was born in Malaysia before Merdeka Day which is 31st of August 1957 will be entitled to register as a citizen after making an application to the Federal Government if they satisfy the requirements;

  • If they are of good character

  • If they have resided in Malaysia during the 7 years immediately preceding the date of the application for the periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than 5 years (permanent resident for 7 years and has been in Malaysia for over 5 years)

  • If they have “elementary” knowledge of the Malay language

  • If they intend to stay in Malaysia permanently

In order to register as a citizen of Malaysia you will be required to submit your application in Form A which you will be able to obtain from the counter of the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara or Registration Department of Malaysia. Your application for the citizenship should also be accompanied by the following documents:

  • The applicant’s birth certificate

  • The entry permit of the applicant

  • The identity cards of the parents as well as the siblings

  • 3 photographs of the applicants

  • The identity card of the applicant

  • The birth certificate or certificate of citizenship of the parents

  • The travel documents that is owned by the applicant in the last 5 years

  • The birth certificate of the children

  • RM10 application fee

You should take note that your application will not be accepted unless it is presented at the National Registration Office by you, this is because the applicant will be required to sign the application form in person and in the presence of the Registrar of Citizens. After the application for the citizenship has been approved you then be required to pay a fee of RM100 so that they will issue you a certificate of citizenship.

How does one define “elementary” knowledge of the Malay language?

For those that wish to apply for citizenship of Malaysia they should have an elementary knowledge of both Malaysia as well as the native language. In such cases the registrar of citizens will set up a Language Board for the purpose of determining whether or not a person that is applying for citizenship according to the Citizenship Rules 1964 has the elementary knowledge of the Malay or native language that is required for a person that is applying for citizenship.

A person will be deemed to have elementary knowledge of the Malay language if it is in the opinion of the Language Board that the applicant is able to say as well as understand what a person is talking about and that they are able to understand or is able to say what they are trying to mean in Malay with a person from a different community. However there is an exception for this particular test and this includes if they have a physical impediment, of deafness or dumbness.


I am not a Malaysia citizen but a woman that is married to a Malaysian citizen. Can I register to become a Malaysia citizen and what is the procedure to do so?

If you are a woman that is married to a husband who is a Malaysian citizen and the;

  • Marriage was subsisting

  • Husband is a Malaysian citizen at the beginning of October 1962

Or if you satisfy the requirements that have been outlined by the government which includes;

  • That you are a person of good character

  • That you have resided in Malaysia throughout the 2 years preceding with the date of the application and that you intend to do so permanently (permanent resident of Malaysia for at least 2 years)

Then you will be entitled to make an application to be registered as a citizen to the Federal Government. You should also take note that your marriage should be registered in accordance with any of the written laws that are in force in Malaysia.

In order to register as a citizen of Malaysia you will be required to submit your application in Form A which you will be able to obtain from the counter of the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara or Registration Department of Malaysia. Your application for the citizenship should also be accompanied by the following documents:

  • The applicant’s birth certificate

  • The entry permit of the applicant

  • The identity cards of the parents as well as the siblings

  • 3 photographs of the applicants

  • The identity card of the applicant

  • The birth certificate or certificate of citizenship of the parents

  • The travel documents that is owned by the applicant in the last 5 years

  • The birth certificate of the children

  • RM10 application fee

You should take note that your application will not be accepted unless it is presented at the National Registration Office by you, this is because the applicant will be required to sign the application form in person and in the presence of the Registrar of Citizens. After the application for the citizenship has been approved you then be required to pay a fee of RM300 so that they will issue you a certificate of citizenship.


I am a Malaysia citizen but my three year old child is not. How can I register my child as a Malaysian citizen?

Any person that is under the age of 21 years old may be registered as a citizen of Malaysia, this is of course provided that at least 1 parent, either the father or the mother was a Malaysian citizen at the time of the birth of the child. The application to be registered as a citizen of Malaysia shall be made by either of the parents and if the Malaysian citizen parents have passed away then the application should be made by the guardian of the child.

In order to register as a citizen of Malaysia you will be required to submit your application in Form B which you will be able to obtain from the counter of the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara or Registration Department of Malaysia. Your application for the citizenship should also be accompanied by the following documents:

  • The applicant’s birth certificate

  • The entry permit of the applicant

  • The identity cards of the parents as well as the siblings

  • 3 photographs of the applicants

  • The identity card of the applicant

  • The birth certificate or certificate of citizenship of the parents

  • The travel documents that is owned by the applicant in the last 5 years

  • The birth certificate of the children

  • RM10 application fee

You should take note that your application will not be accepted unless it is presented at the National Registration Office by you, this is because the applicant will be required to sign the application form in person and in the presence of the Registrar of Citizens. After the application for the citizenship has been approved you then be required to pay a fee of RM100 so that they will issue you a certificate of citizenship.

I am a legal citizen of Malaysia however my child was born in Canada and is a year old. How can I register the birth of my child as a citizen of Malaysia?

Parents of the child can make the application for the registration of the birth at the consulate of Malaysia or with the Federal Government. The child must meet the minimum requirement which is that the child should be born on or after Malaysia day and their father at the time of the birth of the child is also a citizen of Malaysia. You should take note that the application should be made within 1 year of the child’s birth or within a longer period that may be allowed by the Malaysian Government. If you fail to register the birth of your child within the 12 months from the date of the birth then you will have to provide relevant reasons for failing to do so.

Application for this can be made in Form D and it should also be delivered personally by the applicant to the Consulate of Malaysia of the foreign country or the National Registration Office in Malaysia. You should also the following relevant information along with your application in Form D and they include;

  • The identity cards of both the parents

  • The marriage certificate of the parents

  • The travel documents of the parents at the time of the child’s birth

  • The birth certificate of the child

  • The birth certificate of both the parents

  • 3 photographs of the child


Who can apply to be a citizen of Malaysia by naturalization and how?

Any person that is over the age of 21 years old and do not hold any citizenship of Malaysia and would wish to be registered as one, then they would need to satisfy the requirements that have been outlined by the Federal Government which includes;

  • That they are people of good character

  • That they have resided in the Federation for the specified time and intends to do so permanently once the certificate has been granted

  • That they have “adequate” knowledge of the Malay language

If they satisfy the conditions that are mentioned then they may be granted a certificate of naturalization.

The period for the residence in Malaysia which is required for the granting of the certificate of naturalization is the period which will amount in the aggregate to not less than 10 years in the 12 years immediately preceding the date of the application for the certificate and which will also include the 12 months immediately preceding that particular date. This means that you have to become a permanent resident for more than 12 years and have been in Malaysia for more than 10 years.

In order to register as a citizen of Malaysia you will be required to submit your application in Form C which you will be able to obtain from the counter of the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara or Registration Department of Malaysia. Your application for the citizenship should also be accompanied by the following documents:

  • The birth certificate of the applicant

  • The travel documents of the applicant owned in the last 12 years

  • The identity card of the applicant’s spouse (if any)

  • The identity cards or the birth certificated of the applicant’s children

  • The identity cards of the 2 recommenders

  • The identity card of the applicant

  • The entry permit of the applicant

  • The marriage certificate of the applicant (if any)

  • The birth certificates or identity cards of the applicant’s parents (if any)

  • 3 photographs of the applicant

As mentioned you will need 2 recommenders who should be Malaysian citizen who is of or over the age of 21 years old. People that are disqualified from be the recommenders include relatives, persons that are confined in prison, convicted to any offence, husband or wife, advocate and solicitor, persons that are confined in a psychiatric institution by the order of the courts and paid agent.

No application for citizenship shall be accepted unless it has been presented at the National Registration Department by the applicant in person who will then be required to sign the application in the presence of the Registrar of Citizens. After the application has been approved you will then have to pay a fee of;

  • RM200 if you are a resident in the states of Malaysia on Merdeka Day, 31st of August 1957

  • RM300 if you have commenced your residence in Malaysia after Merdeka Day, 31st August 1957

 

So that you will be issued the certificate of citizenship


What is meant by “adequate knowledge of the Malay language?

Anyone that wishes to apply for citizenship by means of naturalization then they must have adequate knowledge of the Malay language. The registrar of citizens on their discretion may set up a Language Board for the purpose of determining whether or not that particular person that is applying for the Malaysian citizenship under the Citizenship Rules 1964 have the adequate knowledge of the Malay or native language, which is one of the requirements for someone that is applying for such rights.

It will be decided by the Language Board whether that particular person has the adequate knowledge of the Malay language in order for them to speak the language properly and read as well as write in the language using either Jawi or Rumi (Roman alphabet) script, this is of course if the applicant is not prevented from doing so due to blindness or other physical impediments. Applicants should take note that the requirements for the reading and writing of the Malay language in Jawi or Rumi (Roman alphabet) script will not apply to those that were residents in the States of Malaysa on Merdeka Day.


How is the calculation for the period of residence in Malaysia?

Any residence in Malaysia shall be treated as the residence in Malaysia if there is;

  • A period of absence from Malaysia due to reasons such as education.

  • A period of absence from Malaysia while they are on duty in the service of the Malaysian government or any of the states in Malaysia where the periods are not consistent with the essential continuity of such residence.

  • A period of absence from Malaysia for a period of less than 6 months.

  • A period of absence from Malaysia due to health reasons.

However, there are certain circumstances where the residence of Malaysia will not be treated as residence in Malaysia, if there is;

  • A period during which a person will be allowed to remain in Malaysia temporarily under the authority of any pass that is issued or exemption orders that was made under the provisions of any of the written laws in Malaysia that is related to immigration.

  • A period where a person is not considered to be a lawfully resident of Malaysia.

  • A period where a person has spent time in prison or was detained in lawful custody in any other place, other than that of a mental hospital according to the provisions of any of the written laws in Malaysia.


How long will I have to wait before I get the results of my application for citizenship?

It will take two years for fresh applicants to know the outcome of their results and if you have already submitted the application and it is in the processing stage, then you can expect the result of your application in a year time. If the application is in its final stages then you should be informed shortly of the results of the application.

Is it possible for me to appeal to the courts if my application for the citizenship has been rejected by the Federal Government?

The short answer to this particular question is no. Any decision that is made by the Federal Government will not be subjected to any review or appeal by the courts. The Minister may delegate to any of the officers from the Federal Government with the consent of the Ruler of Yang di-Pertuan Negeri from any of the states, relating to the application of citizenship.

This basically means that the aggrieved person that was affected by the decision that was made can then appeal to the Minister of Home Affairs. You should take note that despite the fact that you fulfill all the requirements, your application can still be rejected if the Federal Government is not satisfied with your application. A new application will have to be submitted if you are still interested in becoming a citizen of Malaysia.

Is it possible for my to acquire a foreign citizenship while maintaining my Malaysian citizenship even if I am a Malaysia citizen?

If you have acquired the citizenship of a foreign country through means such as naturalization, registration or by any other voluntary or formal act, other than that of marriage then the Federal Government will be order deprive you of your Malaysian citizenship.

For circumstances where you are a woman who is a citizen by registration due to your marriage to a Malaysian citizen previously but now has acquired the citizenship of another country by marriage to another person that is not a Malaysian citizen, then the Federal government will deprive you of your Malaysian citizenship.

You will be given a notice of deprivation in writing which will inform you of the grounds on which the order is to be made before the Federal Government makes the Order of Deprivation of Citizenship of Malaysia. You will then be given the right to have your case referred to a committee of inquiry within 40 days from the date of the service of the notice. The notice of deprivation may be sent to the last known address and if the address where the notice has been sent cannot be ascertained even after reasonable inquiry, then the notice may be given by publication in the Gazette.

I am a woman that is married to a Malaysian citizen and has already obtained a certificate of citizenship. However we are already divorced for a year, what will happen to my Malaysian citizenship?

The Federal Government may by order deprive you of your citizenship, if you are a citizen by registration due to your marriage to a Malaysian citizen and that particular marriage which was registered has already been dissolved, other wise than by death within a period of 2 years beginning from the date of the marriage.

You will be given a notice of deprivation in writing which will inform you of the grounds on which the order is to be made before the Federal Government makes the Order of Deprivation of Citizenship of Malaysia. You will then be given the right to have your case referred to a committee of inquiry within 40 days from the date of the service of the notice. The notice of deprivation may be sent to the last known address and if the address where the notice has been sent cannot be ascertained even after reasonable inquiry, then the notice may be given by publication in the Gazette.

What is the procedure if I wish to renounce my Malaysian citizenship?

You may renounce your citizenship of Malaysia by declaration registered by the Federal Government if you are over the age of 21 years old, you should also be sound of mind or will be about to become a citizen of another country. After the application has been put in you will cease to become of citizen of Malaysia.

You can put in the application for the renunciation of citizenship in Form K and it can be made before a Magistrate, Advocate and Solicitor, Commissioner for Oaths, Justice of the Peace or the Notary Public. If the declaration for the renunciation of citizenship was made before a Magistrate, Advocate and Solicitor, Commissioner for Oaths, Justice of the Peace or the Notary Public outside of Malaysia then it will not be subjected to the Federation stamp duty.

You should also take note that Form K should be accompanied by relevant documents to support you application and they include;

  • Your birth certificate

  • Your Malaysian passport

  • Documents that prove you are or is about to become a citizen of that particular country

  • RM10 fee

  • Your identity card

  • Certificate of citizenship

  • 3 passport sized photographs

I have already migrated to the United States and have renounced my citizenship of Malaysia. Is it possible for me to be registered as a citizen of Malaysia again?

The first thing that you will need to do is to obtain a permanent resident status from the Immigration Department of Malaysia. After that you will be able to apply for the certificate of naturalization in special circumstances after meeting the conditions and requirements.

According to Article 18(2) of the Constitution, no person that has already renounced or has been deprived of their citizenship before Merdeka Day under the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948 shall be registered as a citizen except with the approval from the Federal Government.

I am a Malaysian citizen by naturalization but I have been away from Malaysia for three continuous years, am I still considered as a Malaysia citizen?

If you have registered annually at a Malaysian consulate or Malaysian Embassy stating your intentions to retain your citizenship, then yes you will be considered as a Malaysia citizen.

However you should take note that if you are a citizen of Malaysia by either registration or through naturalization and the Federal Government finds that you have been an ordinarily resident in countries that are outside of Malaysia for a continuous period of 5 years and during those years you have neither registered annually at the Malaysian Consulate stating your intentions to retain your citizenship nor have you been at any time in the service of Malaysia or any other international organization of which Malaysia is a member of then the Federal Government may by order deprive you of your citizenship.

If you do have intentions to retain your citizenship while you are abroad then you can put in the application in Form F which can be obtained at any of the Malaysian Consulate Office. The application in Form F must also be accompanied by other relevant documents supporting your intentions and they include;

  • The current travel document of the applicant

  • 1 photograph of the applicant

  • The identity card of the applicant

  • The certificate of citizenship of the applicant

Both my husband and I are Malaysian citizens, however our baby was born on board an aircraft of another country, Will he be deemed to be born in Malaysia?

In this case the answer is no, this is because a person that is born on board a registered ship or aircraft will be deemed to be born in the place of where the aircraft or ship was registered. While a person that is born on board a ship or aircraft that is not registered, but it originates from the government of that particular country then the baby will be deemed to have been born in that country.

What will be the status of a new born baby that is abandoned?

Any new born child that was found in that particular area will be presumed to have been born there by a mother who is a permanent resident until it can be shown otherwise while the date of the finding will be deemed as the date of birth.

What are the offenses for making false statements when applying for citizenship or forging a certificate of citizenship?

According to Article 31, Part II, Second Schedule of the Constitution, it will be deemed as an offence that is punishable with imprisonment for a term of 2 years or for a fine of not more than RM1000 or both for any person;

  • To impersonate or has falsely represented themselves to be or not to be a person whom a certificate of registration or naturalization as a citizen, whether it has been issued in Malaysia or elsewhere, has been duly issued or granted.

  • To forge or to alter any certificate without any lawful authority whether that particular certificate was granted or issued in Malaysia or elsewhere, or without lawful authority use or have in their possession any certificate of registration or naturalization as a citizen which has been forged or altered

  • Fail to comply with any of the requirements that have been imposed on them by any of the rules made in respect to the delivering of the certificate of registration or naturalization as a citizen

  • To intentionally make any false statements with a view of inducing the Minister to grant or refuse any of the application relating to the citizenship that will also include any of the application to determine whether the applicant is a citizen by operation of the law.

 

1 Comment


  1. seuq

    Hi All, I know someone whom is lying on his Russian student visa that he only hold Malaysia citizenship but he is holding onto USA citizenship too. He did it to study medicine in Russia.
    And it is illegal for Malaysian to have dual citizenship, it is against Malaysian law.

    I am wondering how much trouble he will get with the law for lying about his citizenship???

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