By Zikri Kamarulzaman | Malaysiakini

A stateless e-sports athlete has filed a judicial review to gain Malaysian citizenship after his last application fell into a state of limbo.

Muhammad Aiman Hafizi Ahmad (above) was born in Malaysia and was legally adopted by Malaysian parents who cared for him since he was two.

The parents filed a second application for citizenship for Aiman in 2017, but the last update they received in March 2019 was that the application had been forwarded to the home minister.

However, the parents have received no further updates beyond being told on Aug 13, 2019, to continue waiting.

It’s now a race against time for the pro-gamer, as his 21st birthday falls on Aug 17 next year.

His citizenship application is pursuant to Article 15A of the Federal Constitution – which empowers the government under special circumstances, to grant citizenship for those under the age of 21.

The judicial review application was filed yesterday by lawyer New Sin Yew assisted by Chin Yuen Xin from Messrs AmerBON.

According to the application, Aiman is seeking a declaration that he is a citizen by operation of law, a mandamus order to have a reissued birth certificate reflecting his citizenship, and the issuance of a citizen’s MyKad.

Alternatively, he is seeking an order quashing the rejection of his citizenship application, or a mandamus order compelling the home minister and the government to approve his citizenship as per Article 15A.

The judicial review applications also argue that the government had acted unlawfully in rejecting Aiman’s citizenship application as he fulfils citizenship criteria, including by being born in Malaysia and not being a citizen of another country, or having legal Malaysian parents as per his registered adoption.

Aiman’s case first gained attention on Aug 30 last year, after his PUBG Mobile team won second place in a local tournament and qualified to represent Malaysia at a Southeast Asian level for a competition that was to be held in China.

However, because he does not have a passport due to a lack of citizenship, he was not able to join his team at the tournament.

“(Aiman’s) career as a professional e-sports athlete has been adversely affected (by his citizenship status) and Malaysia has lost one of its best talents to represent Malaysia,” the judicial review filing said.

Then-youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and his deputy Steven Sim offered to help the youth last year but it is not clear what happened.

When contacted, Syed Saddiq (above) said the matter had already been brought to the Home Ministry’s attention.

“Special approval can be given by the minister-in-charge once due diligence is done. I supported the application.

“Really hope his application will be looked into by the Home Ministry,” he told Malaysiakini.

Malaysiakini is attempting to contact the offices of Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin and his predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin for comment.

Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal said he is checking on the matter.

Besides the PUBG tournament, Aiman and his team had also in December 2019 qualified to compete at an international Call of Duty Championship in Singapore.

However, this competition was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.