sports

English-Born Footballer Lee Tuck Says He's Grateful To Be A Malaysian Citizen Now

The 34-year-old footballer, who has been playing in the Malaysia Premier League since 2017, said that it's been a tough road that required him to make sacrifices but it was one opportunity he "couldn't pass on".

Cover image via @lee__tuck (Instagram)

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Footballer Lee Tuck, who plays as a midfielder for Malaysia Super League club Sri Pahang, is now a naturalised Malaysian citizen

The 34-year-old English-born took to his Instagram to make the announcement last night, 31 August.

"I can finally and officially say I am a Malaysian citizen. I'm truly grateful to obtain Malaysian citizenship," he wrote, adding that it's been a tough road that required him to make sacrifices.

"But this was an opportunity I couldn't pass on."

It was reported that Sri Pahang was in the process of getting Tuck naturalised, so he could qualify as a local player. The club had already reached the quota for foreign players this season.

Tuck expressed his gratitude to Sri Pahang's owner and its top leaders for supporting him throughout the naturalisation process

"I want to send my respectful regards and gratitude to Sri Pahang Football Club owner Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Abdul Rahman Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta'in Billah, our chairman Raja Datuk Shaharuddin Shah Raja Jalil Shah, SPFC CEO Datuk Mohammed Suffian Awang, board members of Sri Pahang FC, and all Sri Pahang FC fans for supporting me throughout this process," Tuck wrote.

"I would also like to thank my loving family and close friends."

Tuck has been playing in the Malaysia Super League since 2017, when he joined Negeri Sembilan before moving to Terengganu FC in 2018, and Sri Pahang last season.

For the record, Tuck is not the first naturalised player

More than a dozen footballers of varying nationalities have been granted citizenship through naturalisation.

Some of them include Gambia-born Mohamadou Sumareh, Kosovo-born Liridon Krasniqi, Brazil-born Guilherme De Paula, Australia-born Quentin Cheng, and Canada-born La'Vere Corbin-Ong.

Meanwhile, Sergio Aguero, who is from Argentina, is also hoping to be a naturalised player. However, he has yet to be confirmed. Aguero has been playing in the same league as Tuck.

While foreign players are being granted Malaysian citizenship through the naturalisation process, countless mothers continue to fight for their right to pass their citizenship onto their overseas-born kids

Even those born in Malaysia have faced hurdles and remain stateless.

Raising this issue, Batu Kawan member of parliament (MP) Kasthuri Patto questioned the government in March this year as to why foreign footballers can become naturalised citizens in less than five years but those born in Malaysia are continuously denied citizenship, reported Free Malaysia Today.

"One can play football for five years and become a Malaysian citizen, while those born here are only given their blue IC when they are senior citizens," she told the Dewan Rakyat while citing Tuck as an example.

In August, the government successfully appealed against a High Court ruling granting Malaysian mothers the right to confer citizenship on their overseas-born children on an equal basis with Malaysian men:

In June, SAYS spoke to half a dozen mothers, who shared with us how they feel like they have been deserted by the country they love: