11 year-old Tan Jia Yi, has been denied a Malaysian citizenship three times by the National Registration Department (NRD), according to a report by The Star Online.
Jia Yi, who has a Malaysian father and an Indonesian mother, was born a day before his parents registered their marriage. Jia Yi’s parents had gone through many delays and difficulties in efforts to register their marriage.
When they were finally given the green light to register their marriage on a specific date, Jia Yi’s mother coincidentally went into labour.
Because of this technicality, it has been a struggle for Jia Yi’s parents to get him a Malaysian citizenship. His father, Tan Ban Guan, has been submitting his son’s citizenship application three times in the past four years, only to get rejected.
To make matters more concerning, the boy also does not have an Indonesian citizenship because his mother did not register his birth in her country.
Understandably, Ban Guan is worried about his son and what will become of his future. He claims Jia Yi is becoming more withdrawn and quiet. His grades in school are slipping and he is also being bullied by his classmates for being “different”.
Jia Yi, who will be turning 12 this year, is also a talented volleyball player. His coach, Patrick Morton, has been helping Ban Guan with the registration process as well.
Although he is very skilled at volleyball, he cannot take part in the State Schools Sports Council meet because of his status.
Jia Yi hopes he will be able to get his citizenship soon, so that he can represent Malaysia in volleyball one day.