Marriage bliss turns worrisome for four who wed Viet women
KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 22, 2006): A group of men - some accompanied by parents - turned up at a coffee shop in Muar in December last year to witness a parade of Vietnamese women and to pick their wives.
They found marital bliss but, a year down the road, they found their marriages are not recorded with the National Registration Department (NRD). Thus, their children are considered illegitimate and cannot be registered as Malaysian citizens.
Chew Miang Chee's joy at holding his first born son was shortlived because when he wanted to register his child who was born on on Dec 5, he was told that he could not do so as there were no records of his marriage in the system.
Chew, 41, a plumber was told that there were no records of his March 9 marriage and thus the marriage certificate he held was a fraudulent document. The certificate was seized by the department.
His son is currently stateless and the best that can be done is to register the child as a Vietnamese.
Today, Chew and three of his friends Fong Kok Heng, 38, Tan Kock Hwa, 33, and Tey Ley Hwa, 33, who also picked out and married the foreigners from the same parade may thus face the same dilemma.
They turned up at the MCA public services and complaints department today to highlight their plight.
According to them See, a relative and friend, had introduced them to a Malaysian agent in Vietnam by the name of Raymond Teh whom they each paid RM13,800 as agent fees and for arranging to register their marriages.
See, who had also sought the services of Teh, has two sons from his Vietnamese wife and had no problems with his marriage registration and registration of his children's births.
However, Chew, Fong and Tan were not as lucky. According to them, Teh told them to go to the Muar NRD to get their marriages registered, but later changed the venue to a Chinese Association headquarters.
When they turned up at the association together with their families, they were not met by a marriage registrar but by Teh who himself filled out the forms and conducted the registration exercise on March 9 for Chew and Fong, and on Feb 7 for Tan and Tay.
Although the NRD confirmed that Tay's certificate was authentic, he is still concerned as Tan's certificate has been deemed false.
Both are currently expecting their first born and are worried that they may have to face the same predicament as Chew. Tan's wife is eight months pregnant while Tay's is four months pregnant.
Department head Datuk Michael Chong said the department will assist them to lodge a police report and hoped the police will conduct a serious probe to determine what went wrong.
"We will also seek the help of Deputy Home Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho to assist in this matter," he said.
Chong said the Muar NRD has been very helpful and have agreed to register the marriages of the trio without records. Their children can thus be registered as citizens, he said.
As for Chew, we will try to help him and seek the goodwill of the NRD and the ministry to register his first born, he added.
Have Malaysian men given up hope on finding Malaysian women as wives?