NEW DELHI: The government on Saturday summoned top Malaysian diplomat to register its strong objections to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's remark on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019. According to the government sources, the Malaysian Charge d’Affaires was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Saturday in order to lodge a solemn protest over the remarks made by the Malaysian PM in Kuala Lumpur during a press briefing.
The sources said that it was conveyed to the Malaysian diplomat that such remarks are neither in keeping with accepted diplomatic practice of non-interference in each other's internal affairs, nor with the state of our bilateral relations. It was also conveyed that such remarks are both ill-informed and insensitive. Malaysia was asked to take a long-term and strategic view of the bilateral relations, the sources said, according to news agency ANI.
Reacting to Mahathir Mohamad's remark, the MEA has on Friday categorically said that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 is "a matter entirely internal to India" and does not impact the status of any citizen.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 on Friday, the Malaysian Prime Minister questioned the "necessity" of the Citizenship Act, when Indians have "lived together for 70 years", according to media reports.
The CAA makes it easier for "persecuted" minorities from three neighbouring countries to get citizenship but not if they are Muslims, Mohamad was quoted as saying.
"I am sorry to see that India, which claims to be a seular state, now is taking action to deprive some Muslims of their citizenship," the Malaysian leader said.
"If we do that here, I do not know what will happen. There will be chaos and instability, and everybody will suffer," he added.
Reacting to this, the MEA said, ''According to media reports, Malaysia`s Prime Minister has yet again remarked on a matter that is entirely internal to India. CAA provides for citizenship through naturalisation to be fast-tracked for non-citizens who are persecuted minorities from three countries,"
"The CAA doesn't impact the status of any Indian citizen or deprive any Indian of any faith of her/his citizenship. Malaysian PM`s remark is factually inaccurate. We call upon Malaysia to refrain from commenting on internal developments in India, without the right understanding of facts," the statement read.
The government has repeatedly maintained that the legislation, which promises Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, who arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014, was entirely "internal" to India.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed from Parliament earlier this week and became an Act with the Presidential assent to it on November 12.
(With Agency Inputs)