Home minister: BM proficiency test to be simplified for those applying for citizenship via naturalisation method

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

IPOH, March 4 — The Home Ministry is planning to simplify the national language interview for those applying for Malaysian citizenship via the naturalisation process.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said that the current set of questions and interview method as prepared and conducted by the Home Ministry and the National Registration Department’s (NRD) was too rigid.

“Among the candidates applying for citizenship are those who were born in Malaysia before Merdeka and do not have proper documentation. Therefore, their application will be processed under Article 19, which is naturalisation.

“Based on my observations today, I find that the current Bahasa Melayu syllabus is sufficient for the interviewees, but there is always room for improvement. Our purpose is to simplify the interview process.

“We don’t want the interview process to be too regimented or technical, more ‘santai’ (relaxed). The interviewees seem to be very nervous, especially those who are above 80,” he told a press conference after visiting Rumah Seri Kenangan in Ulu Kinta here.

Earlier, Saifuddin observed the Bahasa Melayu proficiency test as it was conducted at the Dewan Banquet, Complex KDN Office in Meru here.

Saifuddin explained that the current questions for the interviews are structured in a very formal way which makes the interviewees feel nervous.

“Our aim right now is to phrase the questions in an informal way so that the interviewees may answer without feeling nervous. These are the elements that we are looking to improve,” he said.

He also said changing the interview method was possible in a short amount of time as the authorities only need to retrain their officers and implement a new method such as a group interview instead of a one-on-one interview.

“There are a lot of things that can be improvised on without comprising anything that is enshrined in the Federal Constitution,” he said.

“Also, the applicants’ rational for applying for citizenship is very genuine. They just want to get assistance or aid, which was not available to them while in possession of a red Identification Card (IC).

“Most of them need to depend on their children and grandchildren for assistance at the moment,” he added.

Saifuddin also revealed a total of 35,000 people have applied for citizenship via Article 19, and 12,000 applications are currently being processed.

According to the Federal Constitution, proficiency in Bahasa Melayu is one of the prerequisites for three types of citizenship applications.

The three types of citizenship applications are foreign wives of Malaysians who want to be registered as citizens (Article 15(1)), those born in Malaysia before Merdeka who want to be registered as citizens (Article 16), and those who want to be naturalised citizens (Article 19).