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Malaysian mums can’t pass citizenship to these kids
Published on: Saturday, August 06, 2022
By: Malay Mail
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Some of the mothers in court yesterday with their children.
PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal Friday decided in a majority decision that the overseas-born children of Malaysian mothers cannot automatically be Malaysian citizens.

Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said, who chaired the panel, was one of the judges who gave the majority decision.

Datuk Azizah Nawawi similarly gave the same decision.

Datuk S. Nantha Balan was the only judge on the panel who disagreed, pointing out that Malaysia’s citizenship laws discriminated against Malaysian women by not allowing them to pass on citizenship to their children born overseas.

In this case, the Malaysian government had appealed against the High Court’s September 9, 2021 decision, which recognised that Malaysia’s citizenship laws discriminated against women and which had ruled that Malaysian mothers whose children are born overseas should also be entitled to Malaysian citizenship.

The High Court had ruled in favour of the six Malaysian mothers on September 9, 2021, and ordered the authorities to issue citizenship documents to the overseas-born children of the six applicants and others caught in similar circumstances.

While waiting for the Court of Appeal to decide on the appeal, the six Malaysian mothers who filed the suit managed to obtain citizenship documents from the National Registration Department (NRD) for their overseas-born children.

This was because the High Court and Court of Appeal refused to allow the government to defer issuing the citizenship papers while waiting for the appeal to be decided.

After Friday’s decision, lawyer to the six Malaysian mothers, Datuk Gurdial Singh Nijar informed the Court of Appeal that his clients would be appealing to the Federal Court.

The Court of Appeal  said status quo should be maintained for the overseas-born children of the six Malaysian mothers who had obtained the Malaysian citizenship papers, until the Federal Court decides on their appeal.

This means that the government should not revoke their citizenship papers while they are still appealing against Friday’s decision.

As for other Malaysian mothers who are not part of the lawsuit and who had also applied for their overseas-born children to be given citizenship documents by the NRD, the Court of Appeal said their applications should be frozen and should not be rejected.

 “Whatever granted, leave it, don’t disturb it. Whatever pending, leave it in suspended animation pending disposal of appeal,” Nantha Balan said.

 “Whatever pending should not be rejected, just freeze it. You get what I mean?” he added.

 “Yes, completely understand,” senior federal counsel Liew Horng Bin representing the Malaysian government, replied.

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