The Straits Times
Published on Feb 12, 2013

Allow dual citizenship for S'porean kids with foreign parent


THE article on foreigners taking up Singapore citizenship is spot on ("Home in Singapore, heart in homeland"; Feb 4).

I can understand the Government's desire to have citizenship applicants who are highly educated. However, serious consideration should be given to migration expert Leong Chan Hoong's observation that Asian wives raising Singaporean children contribute to society in an invaluable way ("Many want citizenship because of their children"; Feb 4).

Mothers who stay home to raise their children are in no way less valuable than mothers who contribute to society through their careers.

At the very least, the Government could grant these wives permanent resident (PR) status to help make their standing in Singapore more secure. These women are mothering Singaporean children. Without them, Singapore's birth rate would be even lower than it presently is.

Second, I also agree that many highly educated foreign husbands are not willing to give up their native citizenship to take up Singapore citizenship.

I am in such a position. Personally, I am happy with my PR status, as it gives me the best of both worlds.

But I would be interested in taking up Singapore citizenship were dual citizenship allowed.

However, the greater concern for me is Singaporean children with dual citizenship from birth.

For teenagers such as mine (who have a Singaporean mum and foreign dad), the Government faces a high risk of losing their citizenship by forcing them to give up one nationality at age 21.

The risk would be lower if these Singaporeans were allowed to continue as dual citizens into adulthood.

With this forced choice, Singapore risks losing citizens who have spent their entire lives here, and are likely headed towards higher education and a society-contributing career.

These are the very type of people Singapore is trying to attract. It would be sad to lose these citizens just as they are becoming productive members of society.

My hope is that the Singapore Government will soon allow dual citizenship for such children who have been born and raised in Singapore.

James Westberry