KUCHING: The public praised the Kuala Lumpur High Court on its recent decision declaring that children born abroad to Malaysian mothers who are married to foreigners are entitled by operation of law to be citizens of Malaysia.
According to counsel Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar on Thursday, Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir ruled that Part II of the Federal Constitution’s Second Schedule must also mean and include mothers.
“In light of this effect, the judge also ordered that all relevant authorities must issue relevant documentation, such as identity cards, to these children,” he said.
Gurdial also stated that the court’s decision fulfilled the Parliament’s intention in amending Article 8 of the Constitution in 2001 to ensure that women are not discriminated against, and to preserve the family structure by ensuring that children born abroad to Malaysian mothers are citizens by law.
It’s a momentous decision that restores the right of mothers in line with Parliament’s amendment in 2001 to outlaw discrimination against women and gives them and their overseas-born children the same right as fathers in a similar situation.
Here are some thoughts from members of the public regarding the subject matter.
Asfarina Kartika Shakri, 35
Malaysian mothers deserve this to preserve the family structure and not to be detached from their birth country because of a child born abroad. Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution provides no discrimination against citizens including on the grounds of gender; thus mothers should be included in the interpretation of ‘father’ in the context of the provision in concern. Thus, it is reasonable to infer that conferring citizenship on the children by operation of law is a good judgement by the court.
Kristiwi Madehi, 38
Children born overseas to a Malaysian mother should have the same right to confer nationality as those born abroad to a Malaysian father married to a foreign woman. I support the court’s decision to assist them because it is not fair for them to be forced to live in exile simply because they do not have equal citizenship rights.
Siti Aisyah’ Medon, 25
The Court has made an excellent ruling because there is nothing wrong with these children getting citizenship as they, too, have the same right to protection as the others (given that one parent is Malaysian). It was a reasonable decision, given Article 8 (1), which states that all people are equal before the law and are entitled to the same legal protection.
Christina Bajik, 42
Why not? It is a good ruling that the court decides to offer citizenship to the children if one of the parents is Malaysian. With this in place, we can diversify our country. In the end, it’s all about acceptance; we must accept others for others to accept us and our children.
Mythnya Abu, 36
I believe that it is a fair ruling made by the court. These children deserve it, and it is their right to be considered as citizens as one of their parents is a Malaysian. Nobody deserves to have their birthright taken away from them in this world and nobody knows if this child could be one of our future leaders, helping to make Malaysia great in the eyes of the world.
Ainsyah Rambli, 30
I am glad that the Malaysian court made such a move. It demonstrates our openness and willingness to address pressing issues that could only be resolved by a court’s ruling. Some people are living abroad for many reasons, but the children should not be deprived of citizenship rights as long as their Malaysian parent continues to identify themselves as Malaysian.
Nur Natasha, 28
It is wonderful to hear such good news from the court. These children have been denied their right to citizenship for a very long time. It should not be assumed that just because one parent is not Malaysian, they are entitled to less. We must claim our Malaysian-born children and raise them to be Malaysia’s pride one day.