Malaysian citizen or not?

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asked on Nov 5, 2017 at 05:40
edited on Nov 29, 2017 at 07:38
I would like some clarification regarding my Malaysian citizenship status as I am a bit confused about it.

I am in my 40s. I was born in Malaysia to a Malaysian father and Australian mother.  I lived in Malaysia till I was 16 and have only been back there for holidays (last time was over 15 years ago).  I have Australian citizenship and had it at birth due to my mother.  For the first three years of my life I was on my mother's Australian passport as an Australian citizen.  I then had subsequent Australian passports of my own throughout childhood. For as long as I can remember, certainly as long as I have been an adult, I have used an Australian passport. I may have also had Malaysian passports - my mother is not sure.  I did have an IC (blue).

I have always thought that Malaysia did not allow dual citizenship, particularly when exercising the rights of another citizenship.  Therefore, for a long time I have thought I was not a Malaysian citizen and perhaps had never been one.  However, currently I am trying to fill in some Immigration forms for a third country and they are asking all sorts of questions like any previous citizenship, immigration status in all countries I lived in etc and I am finding it very hard to answer as I am not sure of my answer.  I also filled in the America Esta application a few months ago and answered NO to the question about dual citizenship and any previous citizenship as I thought then that I was not (possibly had never been) a Malaysian citizen due to my Australian citizenship.

However, because now of having to fill in this other Immigration form, I am not so certain and am confused and am hoping someone can clarify.  

My questions are:
1. Was I ever a citizen of Malaysia despite my Australian citizenship and use of this citizenship.
2. Am I still a Malaysian citizen.

I had no idea that one might have to formally renounce or have one's citizenship revoked to no  longer be a citizen.  I have only found this out recently due to google.  But this just makes me more confused.  This does not make sense to me.  How can Malaysia not recognise dual citizenship and yet make it VOLUNTARY for one to renounce one's citizenship?  Or consequently, say the government "may" process an order to revoke one's citizenship? Doesn't that just encourage people to just ignore that and continue to use their Malaysian citizenship?  Or is the interpretation of the law more that one automatically is not a citizen and the renouncement or revocation is an administrative process only?  So its like the Malaysian government is saying that one can be a dual citizen AS LONG AS ONE DOES NOT RENOUNCE OR GET CAUGHT which to me is an example of not actually following the spirit of the law.  I would have thought that I was no longer and/or had never been a Malaysian citizenship simply via virtue of my Australian citizenship at birth.

I guess fundamentally my question is whether one's Malaysian citizenship status is automatically lost or voided or if its ONLY lost or voided if one voluntarily renounces it or has it revoked formally by the government.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
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answered on Nov 5, 2017 at 08:00
edited Nov 29, 2017 at 07:49
@ query1

I am no student of law studies but would be interested to join your discussion on this dual citizenship discussion hoping to learn more thoughts from others.

From my readings from this forum and other lesser ones, my conclusions are:

1. Malaysia do not practice the taking away of Malaysian Citizenship. They would rather encourage you to "renounce" it on your free will. Once renounced, it would not be given again even if one changes his/her mind to "reapply again", maybe due to marriage and "retire" back for personal reasons. You can however apply for PR for long term stay, as one of my friends discovered.

2. Currently, if one at birth, having a Malaysian father, you will be accorded Citizenship via the Constitutional Laws, it would still be a pink color birth certificate to differentiate one who has a foreign parent. It would come with a red color MyKid, but can have a Malaysian passport.. This is what I have gather from those who had married Chinese Nationals.

3. There are parents who also applied (mostly foreign mothers) for citizenship and registered her child in her country thus getting both citizenship and passport from the mother's country. This happens when the child is young. The problem arises when the two countries of the parents start not recognizing Dual Citizenship. At age 21, for special applications from the government, one may be required to show proof of single citizenship especially passports. If the country, one is residing now accepts dual nationality, there will be no issue with with 2 passports, but the other country non acceptance of dual nationality, it will come a time that they will not renew (rather make a new one) if they discover irregularities of travel. Examples of exit and no return. Then they will ask you to renounce (in Malaysia's case) your citizenship (Note: Not forced to or auto revoke). The Immigration Department would not renew a new one for you till they view renunciation of citizenship from the other country.

4. For your case, you have a blue IC, you are still a Malaysian Citizen but as the laws here is you have to change to MyKad at age 12, and then at age 18 again, trying to change it to a MyKad can be challenging. The trick is that you should have changed it to Mykad at age 12 and have a passport at the same time and get a driving licence at age 17. Then maintain them at all times, then no one will know you have dual nationality. Some people use like the Aussie passport to come back to Malaysia but use Malaysia passport to go to middle eastern countries for convenience. But during renewal, one must show the old passport to the Immigration and cannot explain why and how they have gone to other countries but do not have exit stamp on their Malaysian passport.

Of course, one can always report lost of passport whenever during renewal, but nowadays your biometric fingerprints will eventually give the game away. In any case, airlines and airports track your movements if you travel frequently, via your name and passport number.

Note that the above is just personal interpretation and is non legal nor verifiable.
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