Govt to amend law on citizenship of kids born abroad to M’sian mums

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Govt to amend law on citizenship of kids born abroad to M’sian mums

The government is expected to amend the federal constitution by making a proposal to the Council of Rulers with regard to the issue involving the citizenship of children born abroad to Malaysian mothers.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (Larut-Bersatu) stressed that any major changes must be brought before the Malay Rulers prior, if the government was going to draft amendments to the constitution.

Speaking during the winding-up session on the king’s address at Dewan Rakyat today, Hamzah expressed his sympathies over the impasse for Malaysian mothers married to foreign spouses with children born overseas due to the present operation of citizenship laws.

He also stressed however, that he has sworn to uphold the federal constitution and is therefore bound to the present provisions.

Additionally, the Home Ministry, he admitted, was wedged between two separate court decisions over the same issue.

“The earlier court decision had ruled in favour of the government but the latest one by the Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court ruled in favour of the applicants.

“The earlier court decision is currently being appealed by the applicants and is set to be heard by November,” he said.

Following both decisions, the ministry, he said, had suggested the government to approach the issue differently by amending the federal constitution

“In the meantime, the matter must receive approval from the Conference of Rulers. Therefore, in relation to the recent KL High Court decision, the ministry will appeal the case and appeal for a stay of execution.

“This is the middle road that I have decided to take to ensure there is an extended period of time for us to bring the matter before the Malay Rulers,” said.

His response comes after Ramkarpal Singh (Bukit Gelugor-PH) had called on the government, yesterday, to amend the federal constitution to clear up the ambiguity on the definition of “father” in relation to conferring their citizenship to their children.

On September 9, the high court had ruled that Malaysian mothers have the right to confer citizenship to their children born overseas on equal basis with Malaysian men.

The court ruled that Article 14(1)(b) of the federal constitution together with the Second Schedule, Part II, Section 1(b), pertaining to citizenship rights, must be read in harmony with Article 8(2) of the federal constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.

High court judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir announced that the word “father” must be read to include mothers, and that their children are entitled to citizenship by operation of law.

“The grievances of the plaintiffs are real… The discrimination is apparent.”

However, the government through Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun had reportedly confirmed that the decision will be appealed triggering outcry among the affected parties. TV

Govt to amend law on citizenship of kids born abroad to M’sian mums

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