Penang & Malacca : British Overseas Citizen
The Straits Chinese considered themselves to be a “privileged community”. They were the “King’s Chinese” (referring to the English monarch) because they lived in a crown colony of the British empire.

The Federation of Malaya was formed on 31 August 1957 of 9 Malay States (Protected States) and the colonies of Penang and Malacca. British protected persons lost that status on independence but there was no provision for the loss of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies. North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore joined with those states to form the Federation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963. The Malaysia Act withdrew citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies on basically normal grounds but did not affect existing citizens of the Federation.

Therefore there was no provision for loss of CUKC for people who acquired that status by their birth or connection with Penang and Malacca before 31 August 1957. A person born there or legally descended from a father born there may have had an automatic claim to citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies - now they are mainly British Overseas citizens.

In late 1956, when Malaya was moving towards nationhood, the President of SCBA, Heah Joo Seang of Penang presented a petition on behalf of the Straits Chinese (whom later called themselves as Queen's Chinese) to Her Majesty's Government in London. The petition expressed the intention of the Queen's Chinese to retain their British nationality and special protected rights after Malaya gained independent. Unfortunately, there was no reply from London.

The Malaysian BOC situation has its roots in the period prior to Malayan independence in 1957. The nine Malay states were British protectorates. However, the Settlements of Penang and Malacca were colonies. In 1949, residents there became entitled to Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies [CUKC] passports. Chinese residents, many of whom had immigrated to Malaya at the behest of the British, felt considerable attachment to their status as ‘Straits Chinese’, also known as the ‘King’s Chinese’ or ‘Queens Chinese’. At the time there was no objection to dual citizenship. When Malaya federated in 1957, they were permitted to retain CUKC passports. The children of fathers born in Penang and Malacca before 31 August 1957 were able to apply for CUKC passports.

Excerpt below from ‘A Modern History of Southeast Asia: Decolonization, Nationalism and Separatism’ by Clive J. Christie, a lecturer in History and Southeast Asia Studies.

“The loyalty of the Straits Chinese was directed not towards Britain as such, but towards the British Empire as a political entity; it was focused on the specific territory of the Straits Settlements and British Malaya within that greater political entity.” […]

“It is in the inter-war years that we see the emergence of a Straits Chinese elite that was to dominate Penang in the 1930s and 1940s. They shared many characteristics: education in the local elite schools, particularly St Xavier’s and the Penang Free School; important roles in banking and import-export businesses in Penang; and key positions in the Chinese Town Hall, the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Straits Chinese British Association (SCBA) and the Georgetown Municipal Commission.”

The Penang Chinese were “loyal British subjects”.

Penang and Malacca

Several early independence acts did not contain any provision for the loss of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies by citizens of the newly independent states. A notable case is that of the former Settlements (colonies) of Penang and Malacca in what is now Malaysia. These were combined in 1948 with the nine Malay states (which were protected states rather than colonies) to form the Federation of Malaya. On independence on 31 August 1957, British protected persons (BPP) from the Malay states lost their BPP status. However, as a result of representations made by the Straits Chinese, known as the "Queen's Chinese", it was agreed by the Governments of the United Kingdom and Malaya that no provision should be made for the withdrawal of Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKC) status from the inhabitants of Penang and Malacca, who would consequently be allowed to remain CUKCs as well as citizens of Malaya.[7] http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1972/nov/13/malaysian-citizens

On 16 September 1963, the colonies of North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore were joined with Malaya to form Malaysia (Singapore subsequently left Malaysia in 1965). CUKC was withdrawn from those acquiring Malaysian citizenship in 1963, but this did not affect existing citizens of the Federation.


Chinese preferred Penang to hook up with Singapore

In 1946 came a test — the Malayan Union was hurriedly and surreptitiously formed post-World War Two.

Christie, the Hull University lecturer, writes:

“The Malayan Union plan highlighted not only the ambiguity of the political aspirations of the Straits Chinese but ultimately also the ambiguity of their identity. While they could only welcome the notion of equal citizenship and opportunities for all races in Malaya, they shrank from the prospect of being cut loose from the safe moorings of the Straits Settlements and thrown into the turbulent politics of the new Malaya.”

Horror of horrors! Penang would be merged into a federation with the Malay states … a fate worse than death.

When in 1948 the Malayan Union was dissolved and replaced with the Federation of Malaya, the anxiety of the Penang Chinese grew even more acute.

There was quickly “a movement designed to get Penang out of the Malayan Federation, in order that it might rejoin Singapore as a Straits Settlement”.

Chinese wanted Penang to secede from Malaya

Christie writes that

“[… ] by early December 1948 an almost irresistible momentum for secession was building up: on 4 December 1948, the Penang Straits Chinese British Association voted for a policy of secession, and this was unanimously backed by an emergency general meeting of the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce on 12 December 1948.” […]

“For the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Chinese- and English-language newspapers of Malaya, the priority was not so much themaintenance of the imperial link per se, as the link with Chinese-dominated Singapore."

The Penang Chinese were very communal in their outlook and wanted links with its sister Straits Settlement, Singapore where their fellow Chinese resided, rather than with the neighbouring states ruled by Malay sultans.

In October 1949, the Penangites petitioned the Colonial Secretary of the Colonial Office in London for Penang’s status as a  “colony of the Straits Settlements” to be restored.

In September 1951, they received word from the Colonial Office that their petition was rejected. Furthermore, they were told that there was to be no Royal Commission as requested to determine the status of Penang.

The newly reordered structure of the Malayan Union had severed Penang administratively from Singapore which shared a kindred 75-80 percent Chinese population.

Subsequently when the Malay states were on the cusp of Independence, separatists in Penang once again tried their luck at secession. The Penangites rejected the indipendence and clamoured to remain as British subjects loyal to Queen Elizabeth II but to no avail.

ACT

Several early independence acts did not contain any provision for the loss of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies by citizens of the newly independent states. A notable case is that of the former Settlements (colonies) of Penang and Malacca in what is now Malaysia. These were combined in 1948 with the nineMalay states (which were protected states rather than colonies) to form the Federation of Malaya. On independence on 31 August 1957, British protected persons from the Malay states lost their BPP status. However, as a result of representations made by the Straits Chinese, known as the "Queen's Chinese", it was agreed by the Governments of the United Kingdom and Malaya that no provision should be made for the withdrawal of CUKC status from the inhabitants of Penang and Malacca, who would consequently be allowed to remain CUKCs as well as citizens of Malaya.

On 16 September 1963, the colonies of North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore were joined with Malaya to form Malaysia (Singapore subsequently left Malaysia in 1965). CUKC was withdrawn from those acquiring Malaysian citizenship in 1963, but this did not affect existing citizens of the Federation.

Hence, persons connected with Penang and Malacca prior to 31 August 1957, together with those born before 1983 in legitimate descent to fathers so connected, form the largest group of British Overseas citizens (estimated at over 1 million). Most also hold Malaysian citizenship.

After 1983

CUKCs who did not qualify to become British Citizens or British Dependent Territories Citizens (later named British Overseas Territories Citizens) became British Overseas Citizens on 1 Jan 1983 according to the British Nationality Act of 1981. While the BOC category was intended to be a residual category of British Nationality that will disappear when all current holders die, it is still possible to acquire BOC status after 1983:
 


The British Nationality Act 1948 established the status of Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKC), the national citizenship of the United Kingdom and those places that were still British colonies on 1 January 1949, when the 1948 Act came into force. However, until the early 1960s there was little difference, if any, in United Kingdom law between the rights of CUKCs and other British subjects, all of whom had the right at any time to enter and live in the United Kingdom.

Independence Acts passed when the various remaining colonies were granted independence also contained nationality provisions. In general, these provisions withdrew the status of CUKC from anyone who became citizens of the newly independent country, unless one had a connection with the UK or a remaining colony (e.g. through birth in the UK). Exceptions were sometimes made in cases where the colonies did not become independent. (Notable cases include Penang and Malacca, which were made part of the Federation of Malaya and Hong Kong, which became part of the People's Republic of China. CUKC status was not withdrawn from CUKCs from Penang and Malacca, and a new British nationality status was created for Hong Kong.)

Between 1962 and 1971, as a result of fears about increasing immigration by Commonwealth citizens from Asia and Africa, the United Kingdom gradually tightened controls on immigration by British subjects from other parts of the Commonwealth. The Immigration Act 1971 introduced the concept of patriality, by which only British subjects with sufficiently strong links to the British Islands (i.e. the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) had right of abode, the right to live and work in the United Kingdom and Islands.

Although there have been several amendments to the 1971 Act in the intervening years, the principal British nationality law today is the British Nationality Act 1981, which established the current system of multiple categories of British nationality, viz. British citizens, British Overseas Territories citizens, British Overseas citizens, British Nationals (Overseas), British subjects and British protected persons. Only British citizenship and certain commonwealth citizens have the automatic right of abode in the United Kingdom.

The 1981 Act also ceased to recognise Commonwealth citizens as British subjects. There remain only two categories of people who are still British subjects: some people (formerly known as British subjects without citizenship) who originally acquired British nationality through a connection with former British India, and also a number of people connected with the Republic of Ireland before 1949 who have made a declaration to retain British nationality. Those British subjects connected with former British India lose British nationality if they acquire any other.

Right of Abode, CUKC

British Overseas citizens do not have the right to live in the UK.

The only way such a person might be a British citizen is if he or she acquired a UK Right of Abode before 1983, eg:
- parent or grandparent born (or possibly naturalised) there; or
- that person lived for 5 years in the UK prior to 1983; or
- if a woman, was married to a man with right of abode.

In itself, citizenship of the UK & Colonies did not carry with it a Right of Abode before 1983.

using annex C (attached) - was a cukc under s.4 BNA 1948
using annex D (attached) - s.2(1)(a) Immigration Act 1971. RIGHT OF ABODE ON 31 DECEMBER 1982.

37.2.1 Section 26 of the British Nationality Act 1981 explains which people born before 1 January 1983 acquired British Overseas citizenship automatically on that date.

37.2.2 Under s.26, a person automatically became a British Overseas citizen on 1 January 1983 if, immediately before that date, he or she:
* was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies; and 
* did not on that date become either:

i. a British citizen under s.11 of the British Nationality Act 1981 or s.1(1) of the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983 (see Chapter 2); and/or

ii. a British Dependent Territories citizen under s.23 (see Chapter 22).

37.2.3 British Overseas citizenship is not transmissible, and the question of whether a person is such a citizen by descent or otherwise does not arise.

37.4.3 When citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies was derived from a connection with a former British overseas territory particular care should be taken to establish that the person concerned retained that status when the territory in question gained independence.

MALAYSIAN CASE

On record, only 673 individuals – and not 1,000 as previously reported – had renounced their Malaysian citizenship allegedly to obtain the BOC between 2005 and 2013, ending up in this predicament of being stateless.

RETURNING TO MALAYSIA

need to apply by normal procedure to get their citizenship back, only if they qualify. have to wait at least 17 years before they can regain their Malaysian citizenship.

This is not about politics, let alone serves as a 'punishment' for the 'former Malaysian Chinese' who had chosen to become 'British'.