It was quite awkward to see Malaysians be negative about migrant populations, mostly because we are in fact a nation historically founded by migrants, asylum seekers and even refugees.
Melaka was started by a refugee – well, not exactly. He did lead a coup to try and take over Temasek.
However, unless you’ve got the Orang Asal’s in your respective family history and bloodline, or even tracing back to Old Kedah, GanggaNegara and such ancient city states, you’re most probably a migrant too.
Personally, I am a product of migrants – Indonesian (Langkat), Malay (Perak), Indian and Chinese – all traceable through four generations.
I am certain that there are families here in Malaysia with even more diverse bloodlines and longer heritage here in Malaysia. Thus, I question why people are pissed.
I don’t mind 50,000 foreigners becoming Malaysian citizens. It’s a good sign. Someone has to do labour intensive work which our own citizens are not doing, sometimes at risk to their very lives.
Plus, a migrant population is a sign of a metropolitan society. To deny the rights of foreigner to join the Malaysian society, is akin to the West and their continuous efforts to halt migration which they deem economic but is certainly just racism.
At the same time, with national growth rates stunting, we need migrants to maintain it.
What I do question, however, is the inability of the NRD to grant the same for Malaysians who have been here more than decades applying for the same.
Why are those who have married Malaysians been denied citizenship when requested for it for years?
There must be a reason behind all this, perhaps preferential treatment or maybe an unofficial point system to grant citizenship, I’m not in the know.
But to deny those who have called Malaysia their home for so long, access to their fundamental rights of citizenship and beyond, is a travesty that requires urgent correction.