Both parents Malaysian, but woman still holds red IC at 52

IPOH: Although her parents were Malaysians, 52-year-old Hew Ling Poa has only been accorded permanent resident (PR) status.

Her parents were both working in Brunei in a hair salon when Hew was born. She was brought back to Malaysia at the age of five.

Her late father applied for PR status when the family returned here and she received it at age 12.

“Then when I was 17, my parents started applying for my citizenship, with the last application made in 2018, and rejected in January this year.

“My younger brother is a Malaysian, my late husband was a Malaysian, my 25-year-old daughter is a Malaysian, my grandchild is a Malaysian.

“I am now 52 and still holding a red identification card,” she told a press conference organised by state MCA Public Service and Complaints Bureau chief Low Guo Nan here on Friday (Sept 2).

Also present was Hew’s 76-year-old mother Wong Fong Chee.

Hew showed the press all the necessary documents to prove her parents’ Malaysian citizenship.

With a red identity card, she said she was not eligible to vote and could not get any financial aid.

“I am running my own hair salon business, and during the movement control order due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I was not entitled to any aid,” she said, adding that she went to primary and secondary school here.

She said her citizenship application had been rejected about six times now, without any reason given.

“I have not been to Brunei ever since my parents brought me back to Malaysia, and when I travel overseas, due to my status, I have to apply for a visa to go to any country.

“I hold a document called a certificate of identity, not even a passport, and the hassle I have to go through at the immigration counter in the destination country is unbelievable.

“Everyone gets cleared fast, but I will have to go through a special lane, answer many questions, and wait for some time before I get the clearance,” said the frustrated Hew.

She said she went to the National Registration Department a month ago and was told to go to the High Commission of Brunei to get her birth certificate validated.

“Now suddenly, they ask me (to do) this … all this while I have been submitting the necessary documents in my previous applications,” she said, expressing her doubt that her application would be approved even if she did get the validation.

Low said he is helping Hew write to the Home Ministry as well as to the secretary to the Prime Minister.

“I have asked for assistance to look into Hew’s case, as both her parents are Malaysians, and even after becoming a grandmother she still remains a PR,” he added.