Three more SG50 babies as triplets are granted citizenship

The triplets were granted citizenship by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority last month. Their mother, Madam Ning, says the last time she was in touch with her Singaporean husband was on Chinese New Year's Eve, when he transferred some money to
The triplets were granted citizenship by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority last month. Their mother, Madam Ning, says the last time she was in touch with her Singaporean husband was on Chinese New Year's Eve, when he transferred some money to her.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Chinese national mum could not register babies' births last July as S'porean husband had run away

Singapore has three more Golden Jubilee babies, after three girls, who were stateless previously, were granted citizenship last month.

Madam Ning Lei, 35 - a Chinese national whose Singaporean husband ran away - could not register the triplets' births at the KK Women's and Children's Hospital when they were born last July.

Their father's identity card was needed for registration.

However, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) granted them citizenship last month.

Responding to queries about the development, ICA said it was "unable to comment on individual cases for reasons of confidentiality".

Madam Ning had just finished feeding her daughters the day the ICA called to tell her that the girls' birth papers were ready.

"My mind was a blank," she said in Mandarin, adding that she has been busy changing, feeding and bathing her daughters since they were born.

Her mother is in Singapore to help take care of the girls.

Madam Ning said: "I am very grateful for all the help that ICA, the lawyers, the church and other charitable organisations have given me."

Lawyer Dinesh Dhillon, a partner at Allen & Gledhill, made a case for the three girls to receive their Singaporean citizenship to ICA. He said: "The case caught my attention because I also have triplets."

He remembered how his wife, helper and in-laws helped to raise his children. "We had a whole group of people helping... I was wondering how Madam Ning was coping."

She qualified for help under the Law Society's Pro Bono Services Office, so he offered his help and wrote a letter, arguing her case, to ICA late last year.

"We sent follow-ups and reminders... Four months later, the good news came," he said.

For the next step, Madam Ning hopes to have her long-term visit pass approved, which will allow her to work in Singapore. She is now on month-long short stay passes.

"I would like to work in children's art education," she said, adding that she used to teach and choreograph dances for children in China.

Hopefully, a long-term visit pass will mean that she can seek help for housing, she added.

She is now living in a room in a condominium, owned by an acquaintance, for free.

"It is not a long-term solution," she said.

Previously, the family was at a women's shelter. "It was too noisy," she said, adding that her family shared a room with two teenagers from China.

Madam Ning said that the last time she was in touch with her husband was on social messaging app WeChat, on the eve of Chinese New Year, when he transferred 5,000 yuan ($1,040) to her.

Her husband - Mr Gng Cher Kang, 35 - whom she believes is in China, also asked for the girls' photos and videos.

Commenting on the granting of citizenship for her daughters, Madam Ning said she is glad that she no longer has to pay higher fees for her daughters and they can qualify for subsidies given to Singaporeans.

"The savings can help a lot, especially when they are so young and need immunisation jabs and regular check-ups," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2016, with the headline 'Three more SG50 babies as triplets are granted citizenship'. Print Edition | Subscribe