KUCHING: Permanent residency and citizenship status are completely different, and Chong Chieng Jen should not confuse Sarawakians by linking the two, said political secretary to the chief minister Tan Kai.
“As the Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman and also a veteran lawyer, he should not continue to mislead Sarawakians,” he said during a press conference here yesterday.
He was elaborating on Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian’s remarks on Friday (February 14), in which Dr Sim countered Chong’s comparison between Dr Sim’s Australian permanent resident status with former Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon’s Australian citizenship.
Tan pointed out that permanent residents were not required to pledge loyalty to the country, whereas citizens ought to.
“Permanent residents cannot stand as candidates in elections, whereas citizens can,” he said.
He added that permanent residents were unable to enjoy all the benefits provided by the government, such as government housing and medical benefits.
“An Australian citizenship makes you citizen of Australia and hence provides all the rights which a citizen of Australia possesses.
“A permanent residency status only gives you the right to live in Australia,” he clarified.
Dr Sim in his earlier remarks had clarified that while he was in Australia for 17 years, he had never acquired Australian citizenship, nor had he made any declaration of allegiance to any country outside the federation of Malaysia.