Govt to continue appeal against citizenship ruling: Hamzah

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Govt to continue appeal against citizenship ruling: Hamzah

The government will continue its appeal against the high court decision on equal citizenship for children born abroad, with Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin saying Putrajaya wants to avoid being found in “contempt of court”.

At the same time, he said, the government is complying with the provisions of the federal constitution.

The government’s decision to seek a stay applies in the case against Suriani Kempe and six other mothers, he said.

In an online press conference, Hamzah said Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun was invited to today’s cabinet meeting to provide an explanation on the matter.

“The cabinet has requested that the AG bring up the case with the deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong as soon as possible, so there is a common understanding between the cabinet and Conference of Rulers. This will also help decide our next course of action.”

Just a day ago, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said Putrajaya takes the issue seriously, as it involves discrimination and human rights.

“Several ministers have presented their views, and the matter was brought up in the cabinet meeting last week by Women, Family and Community Development Minister (Datuk Seri) Rina Mohd Harun. It received a very positive response from cabinet members,” he said after receiving the #TarikBalikRayuan petition and an open letter from the Association of Family Support and Welfare Selangor & Kuala Lumpur (Family Frontiers).

The handover took place at 9.16am yesterday outside the Parliament building.

Family Frontiers president Suriani yesterday questioned the government’s intention to continue with its appeal against the high court ruling.

She said Putrajaya should withdraw its challenge and provide immediate relief to Malaysian mothers and their families.

Malaysia is one of 25 countries that do not give mothers and fathers equal rights when it comes to passing on citizenship to their children. The constitution grants Malaysian fathers the automatic right to confer citizenship on their children born overseas, but not Malaysian mothers.

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

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

Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir said 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.”

Govt to continue appeal against citizenship ruling: Hamzah

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