The Straits Times
Published on Feb 06, 2013

A firm 'no' to dual citizenship


THERE are many government policies I disagree with, but I passionately support its firm stand on prohibiting dual citizenship ("Home in Singapore, heart in homeland"; Monday).

This is despite the fact that a policy reversal would make my own life more convenient.

I am living overseas in a country where I have long qualified to apply for citizenship.

As tempting as it is to serve two masters, I strongly believe the right thing to do is to refrain from it.

I disagree with migration expert Leong Chan Hoong, who says highly skilled and mobile Singaporeans could easily leave Singapore during a crisis even without dual citizenship.

If Singapore were at war, anyone liable for any form of national service would most likely be prevented by the authorities from leaving, regardless of how skilled they are in their chosen professions.

What do we do with Singaporeans who are also citizens of a country with which we have a conflict?

It is foreseeable that some Singaporeans who are citizens of friendly countries would want to leave.

Such Singaporeans, like any other, have the patriotic duty of defending Singapore.

However, the governments of those friendly countries could still pressure Singapore to release these dual citizens.

Why should we put our Government in such a potentially awkward situation at a time when its efforts and resources should be fully focused on how best to maintain our survival?

I also doubt the objectivity of sociologist Paulin Straughan's views.

She has two sons with dual citizenship who must decide which citizenship to give up when they turn 21.

She says it makes no sense "to lose a Singaporean child who has grown up here, while giving citizenship to newcomers".

What is senseless is to give Singapore citizenship to those who are willing to give it up for another.

Our national policy on dual citizenship should not kowtow to the wishes of those who simply want more convenience for themselves.

It should place the best interest of our country above all else, always.

If there is a national policy that must be dogmatic and rigid, this is it, even if it is viewed by some as being overly so.

It could mean the very survival of our precious little island in future.

Michael Ang York Poon