Iban teen finally obtains Malaysian citizenship after 18-year wait

From left: Peter, Madam Lee and Yong in a photo taken at National Registration Department (NRD) counter. Photo credit: Violet Yong

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, March 10: After enduring an 18-year wait, Iban teen Peter Christopher Keli has finally obtained his Malaysian citizenship.

When he was just a few months old in 2006, Peter’s biological parents—an Iban father and an Indonesian mother—handed him over to Madam Lee, a coffee shop cleaner then.

Due to the parents’ refusal to bring Peter home, he has been under Madam Lee’s care until the present time. Madam Lee is now 75.

According to Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong in a statement today, she has been helping both Madam Lee and Peter to fight for his citizenship by following up closely with the National Registration Department’s (NRD) Birth Registry Unit and Sarawak Council for Native Customs and Traditions.

“In addition to helping Madam Lee obtain the guardianship order from the High Court, I assisted her in rectifying Peter’s birth certificate to include the Adat customary marriage of Peter’s biological parents that took place before Peter’s birth so that Peter could be granted the citizenship status of his biological father, who is a Malaysian.

“Before the amendments of the relevant particulars in Peter’s birth certificate, Peter’s citizenship had to follow his biological mother’s Indonesian nationality,” she explained.

However, Yong said due to a discrepancy in the name of Peter in the guardianship order and newly extracted birth certificate, she will assist the duo again in filing a court application for correction and promptly assist Peter in applying for a MyKad. — DayakDaily