Racer and rapper born to Malaysian mom hopes to finally get citizenship

KUALA LUMPUR: Born to a Malaysian mother in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 23-year-old Afique Danial Bogers Izzad Bogers has been living in several countries since he was five but has not been able to truly call any of them his home.

His mother had been desperately applying for a Malaysian citizenship for him at the National Registration Department (NRD) since 2005 but was rejected at least six times.

"It came to a point where I thought that it might not happen. But I did not want to lose hope as there are other things in life that we can focus on," he told the New Straits Times.

The second of three siblings said his Dutch father, who works as a civil engineer met his mother, Malia (full name withheld) while in Malaysia and they tied the knot here in 1995.

"They then moved to the Netherlands and my mother gave birth to me in 1998. At the time, my elder brother (from Malia's previous marriage), born in 1985 was already studying there.

"My father was then deployed to Hong Kong and we all stayed with him there," he said in an interview.

In 2003, the family returned to Malaysia and Danial started going to kindergarten in 2005.

He had also attended school in Singapore until 2010 and later furthered his studies in public relations at MSU in Shah Alam.

However, they are now racing against time as Danial is close to finishing his studies.

"I am happy that he is studying. But I realise that time is getting shorter. Where will he go after he finishes his studies?" said a sobbing Malia, adding that she feared for Danial's future.

Malia said that they had also been offered permanent residency in the Netherlands but declined it due to their iron will to have all her children become Malaysian citizens.

"We could've accepted the offer, but everyone has decided to settle down here (Malaysia). It is our pride and we love this country," she said.

Danial, who is also a bike racer and rapper said he was passionate about representing Malaysia.

"I think I speak for every other person who is in my situation when I say that we want to contribute and be part of this nation.

"There's no reason for them not to give us citizenship because we can't leech off of anything here.

"And the sad part is, I am the son of a Malaysian mother," he said.

Danial expressed hope that he would one day be able to hold a Malaysian identification card before his student visa expires in August, the same month as the country's Independence Day.

"I don't know where my racing career is heading because it has been halted due to Covid-19.

"I have always dreamed of forming a group to help young Malaysians passionate to become professionals in their dream career," he said.

In February, three mothers, whose children were born abroad, received their children's citizenship documents from the NRD.

The decision in the government's appeal against a High Court ruling that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers married to foreigners are entitled to automatic Malaysian citizenship has been refixed for Aug 5.

High Court Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir, in his decision to allow children born overseas to Malaysian mothers married to foreigners to be entitled to citizenship by the operation of law under Article 14(2), ruled that the word "father" in Section 1(b) must be read to include the mother.

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