Home Ministry says still intends to reach benchmark of awarding 10,000 citizenships but must consider national security
PUTRAJAYA, March 30 — Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said today that the Home Ministry's goal to decide on 10,000 citizenship applications would not come at the cost of national security and safety.
The home minister said his ministry would not be simply approving citizenships if it feels that the nation's safety is compromised, giving the example of syndicates allegedly supplying fake birth certificates.
"It's stated clearly in the Constitution, clear guidelines, we just need to follow it. We don't intend to hit the KPI of 10,000 if we feel there's a safety issue," he told the media in an engagement session at the ministry, referring to the key performance index.
"Parents who want to foster a kid need to go to court and go through an adoption process. This is where we need to be careful as there are cases of fake birth certificates."
He said there have been cases of syndicates producing fake certificates, giving the example of a case where a girl allegedly had three certificates. He did not elaborate on the matter.
"So the National Registration Department won't approve your MyKad or papers if they don't have the right documentation. We won't ignore them but we will guide them to get the proper documentation, we facilitate them. So based on the Constitution citizenship status and requirements are very simple and we will continue to adhere to it," he said.
The issue of citizenship was highlighted in February when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Cabinet decided to update current laws to confer automatic citizenship to the offspring of Malaysian women who give birth overseas.
The proposed amendment to the citizenship laws in the Federal Constitution will require support from two-thirds of lawmakers in Parliament and would have to go through the process of being voted through in the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara and receiving royal assent and being gazetted before taking effect as law.
Meanwhile separately, Saifuddin said his ministry has concluded its investigations into the National Integrated Immigration System (NIISe) that was awarded to IRIS Information Technology Systems Sdn Bhd (IRIS).
He said since there was an 80 per cent transfer of shares to a third party that needed to be investigated and the findings would be presented to the Cabinet.
"There are weaknesses in NIISE and we need it ready yesterday. However we are now in the process of preparing a Cabinet paper and in April I will bring it to Cabinet to debate," he said.
Saifuddin emphasised that the Home Ministry is committed to the success of the NIISe project and protecting the interests of the users, including the Immigration Department, to ensure that the delivery of services is not affected.
Last month, reports emerged that former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was involved in the awarding of the NIISe contract to Iris Corporation Berhad, linked to his son-in-law.
The company in question is IRIS Corp Bhd’s unit, Iris Information Technology Systems Sdn Bhd (IITS) which secured a RM1.12 billion contract for the NIISe project from the Home Affairs Ministry in May 2022.
NIISe was meant to modernise the Immigration Department of Malaysia by implementing the latest and most advanced digital applications.
Muhyiddin later denied his involvement in the awarding of the project, claiming the allegations were malicious slander deliberately designed to tarnish his and his family’s dignity.