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SINGAPORE: Should Singaporeans be allowed to have dual citizenship? One woman has made the case for her children who are half-Swedish to be allowed to do so in a letter published on ST Forum, earlier this week.

Ms Dorlisa Johansson explained that she lives with her husband and two children, ages six and eight, in Sweden. She’s worried, however, about the day when her children turn 18, as they will have to choose to either stay Singaporean, and give up their other citizenships, or let go of their Singaporean citizenship entirely.

I do not look forward to the day when they have to give up their Singapore citizenship. As a Singaporean myself, I want my children to love the country I grew up in as much as I do,” Ms Johansson wrote, adding that giving up their other citizenships would not be practical due to schooling and other reasons.

While they live overseas, she wrote that her children “have strong ties to Singapore,” visiting yearly except during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“The children love Singapore cuisine and are excited to be in the country every time we visit,”  she wrote, adding, “I hope the Singapore Government will consider letting Singaporeans hold multiple citizenships because in the long run, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.”

Ms Johansson then explained why she believes this. She wrote that her children may end up representing Singapore in future Winter Olympics, as help forge business links between Singapore and Sweden.

She ended her letter by writing, “Like many Singaporeans who have pursued opportunities abroad, I have remained connected to my island nation. We want to remain Singaporeans. Will you let us?”

Ms Johansson’s appeal went on to be discussed on the SG Talk forum, most commenters wrote they are against dual citizenship.

One wrote, “Singapore (is) so small, dual citizenship will flood our island in no time. No responsibility and accountability in GE voting. That’s dangerous.”

Singapore neither accepts nor allows dual citizenships. As recently as 2016, Mr Edwin Tong asked the Minister for Law and Home Affairs to explain the reasons for not allowing Singaporean citizens to hold dual citizenships. He also asked if it was the right time to review the relevant rules.

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“We are a small and young nation and it is important that our citizens have a long-term commitment to building a future together,” explained Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam.

He added that because Singaporeans enjoy the rights and privileges as citizens, they are expected to maintain the responsibilities that citizenship entails. If Singaporeans are permitted to have dual citizenship, it would be “is unlikely to enhance that commitment, but could instead dilute it,” he added.

Most countries, however, allow its citizens to have more than one citizenship, although some of Singapore’s closest neighbours, including Malaysia and Indonesia, do not. /TISG

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