Being Malaysians, we love to hear how great our fellow Malaysians are doing out of the country and very often, we would flood the social media with congratulatory messages on their achievements.
One example is Malaysian born Senator Penny Wong, who was recently appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia. Unfortunately, she has met with several criticism for identifying herself as a Malaysian.
In a selfie posted on her official Twitter account, she welcomed Sam Lim, another fellow Malaysian born Australian politician, who is the latest member to the Australian Labor Party, which she is also a part of.
And the Malaysian caucus has doubled! pic.twitter.com/GbaIDjwHvq— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) June 1, 2022
Her tweet has since drawn criticism from some Malaysian netizens for still calling herself a Malaysian.
According to them, Wong and Lim do not qualify to call themselves Malaysians as they have chosen to leave their home country to serve another.
One netizen even pointed out that she had moved to Australia for a better life, but “the rest of us here are still fighting to improve democracy and quality of life in Malaysia.”
“Don’t call yourself Malaysian.” the netizen said.
Meanwhile, there were some Malaysians who disagree with those spreading bitterness. They feel that they had no right to determine whether someone identifies as Malaysian or not.
A netizen explained that despite Wong and other Malaysian-born are now holding foreign passports, they still deserve to call themselves Malaysians.
This is because the place of birth is one of the things that make up an individual’s identity. Hence, having been born in Malaysia is one important aspect of someone feeling like a Malaysian.
Where you are born still matters. You don't get to erase one because of the other. I don't think it's your place to erase part of someone's background/identity.— Irena De Filippou (@crispy_igdf) June 2, 2022
“Where you are born still matters. You don’t get to erase one because of the other (where you currently reside),” said a netizen.
With this, they pointed out that being Malaysian is much more than one’s citizenship because we have a national culture.
“So, even when a Malaysian lets go of their citizenship, they can still remain one in their ways and heart. It’s an emotional thing.” said another netizen.
What do you think about this debate? Do you think those who had given up their citizenship here still qualify to call themselves Malaysian? Share your thoughts!