Malaysian Nationality is not just a race or ethnicity. It is also social status and identity that denote who a person considers themselves to be. In Malaysia, there are four categories of Malaysians: Malaysian, born in Malaysia (also known as “Malaysian BORN”), a naturalized citizen of the country, and dual citizens.
History of Malaysian Nationality
The Malaysian nationality law was first enacted in 1948 and has undergone several revisions since then. The current nationality law is based on the British Nationality Act 1948, which stipulated that all people who were not British citizens were to become Malaysian citizens by naturalization. The Malaysian nationality law does not grant citizenship to descendants of immigrants from other countries.
The Malaysian nationality law is subject to amendment at the discretion of the Prime Minister. Amendments have been made to the nationality law to address issues such as the granting of citizenship to descendants of immigrants from other countries, as well as changes in demographics and immigration patterns over time.
The Malay national identity has been a contentious issue in Malaysian politics for decades. While many Malays see themselves as racially and culturally distinct from other ethnic groups in Malaysia, the government has tried to promote a multiracial society through policies such as affirmative action. There are also tensions between Malay Muslims and non-Muslim ethnic minorities, including Chinese and Indians, over rights and representation in Malaysian society.
What is Malaysian Nationality?
Malaysian nationality is citizenship and national identity conferred on a person by the Malaysian government. All people who live in Malaysia are automatically Malaysian nationals, regardless of ethnicity or religion. The granting of Malaysian nationality is based on the principle of jus sanguinis, which means that a person’s nationality is derived from their parent or parents who are Malaysian citizens.
Rights and Privileges of Malaysian Nationals
- Protected Status:
Malaysian nationals are protected by the country’s laws from discrimination and persecution. This includes protection from natural disasters and economic difficulties.
- Free Education:
All Malaysian citizens are entitled to free education at state schools, regardless of their income level. In addition, there is a scholarship program for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
Malaysia provides high-quality healthcare for all its citizens, regardless of their nationality. In addition, the government has several social health insurance programs that provide coverage for medical expenses (including hospitalization) and maternity care.
- Dual citizenship with Singapore and Malaysia:
Malaysian nationality allows its holders to have two passports – one from Malaysia and one from Singapore. This makes traveling between the two countries much easier, and also allows for quick access to government programs in both countries.
- Access to certain Government Programmes:
Malaysian nationals are eligible for some important government programs, such as education grants and medical insurance. This means that they can take advantage of special deals and benefits that only apply to citizens of certain countries.
Eligible Criteria for Malaysian Nationality
Malaysian nationality is based on the principle of jus soli, which means that a person born in Malaysia is automatically a Malaysian citizen. To be eligible for Malaysian citizenship, a person must be:
- A native of Malaysia
- A child of a Malaysian citizen
- A descendent of a Malaysian citizen
- An adopted child of a Malaysian citizen
- A spouse of a Malaysian citizen
- A parent of a Malaysian citizen
Types of Malaysian Nationality
- Malay Nationality:
This is the nationality that is based on place of birth. All Malaysians who were born in Malaysia are automatically nationals. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. If a Malaysian parent was born outside of Malaysia, then the child is not automatically considered a Malayan national. To become a Malayan national, the child must apply for and receive citizenship from Malaysia.
- Malaysian Passport:
A Malaysian passport is issued to all Malaysian citizens. This passport allows citizens to travel internationally and stay in other countries for up to 90 days without needing a visa.
- Singaporean Nationality:
A person who was born in Singapore but has never been away from Malaysia (except for brief trips to Singapore) is automatically considered a Malaysian national and can hold a Malaysian passport. This applies even if the person does not have any other citizenship.
- Samseng Nationality:
Persons who have both Chinese and Malay blood are considered Samseng nationals. As a result, they are entitled to hold both a Malayan passport and Chinese citizenship.
Different Ways of Acquiring Malaysian Nationality
- By Birth:
If you were born in Malaysia, you are automatically a Malaysian citizen. To be eligible for citizenship through birth in Malaysia, your parents must have been Malaysian citizens when you were born.
- By Descent:
If one of your parents is a Malaysian citizen and you are not also a Malaysian citizen yourself, you may be able to claim citizenship through descent. You must prove that you are descended from a Malaysian citizen who was alive at the time of your parent’s birth. This can be done by submitting documentation such as your parent’s national identification card or passport.
Another way to gain citizenship is through naturalization. This process requires that you meet certain eligibility requirements and pass an assessment test. After meeting these requirements, you will need to apply for naturalization and submit documentation such as your wedding certificate and criminal records check.
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Malaysian nationality is unique in that it allows for dual citizenship. This means that you can be a Malaysian citizen and also hold another citizenship, such as an American, British, or Australian one. This opens up many opportunities for Malaysians living abroad to keep their ties to their home country strong and to continue contributing economically and culturally back home.