Fed govt should not appeal court’s decision

Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah

Malaysian citizenship

KUCHING: The federal government should not appeal the recent High Court’s ruling that children born abroad be accorded automatic citizenship regardless of if the Malaysian parent is the father or mother.

The Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development (KWKPK) said the federal government should provide explanation to the people on the rationale in taking the stand.

“Sultan Ibrahim reminds me of the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem. Tok Nan once said during our state Women’s Day Celebration ‘point to me any law that discriminates women and I will change it’.

“I am looking at the issue not only from the perspective of a law which is discriminatory to women, but also the hardships faced by Malaysian mothers and their children arising from this,” she said when contacted on Sunday (Sept 19).

Fatimah said she empathised with the affected mothers and their children as the process of applying for citizenship would take a long time.

She pointed out that there were many challenges especially in terms of gaining access to education and health services among others which the affected children would not enjoy during the waiting period.

“A Malaysian mother has to apply for citizenship for her children, which often takes up years to know the result of the application.

“Even if the children can get access to education and health services during the waiting period, they would be imposed the non-citizen fees. This will affect the children’s wellbeing and future because of missed opportunities,” she said.

She added that the situation would certainly be devastating for Malaysian mothers as their children were being deprived of opportunities and facilities enjoyed by other Malaysian children.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court recently made a landmark ruling whereby Malaysian mothers with a foreign spouse can automatically pass on their citizenship to their children born outside of Malaysia.

However, following that the federal government has filed an appeal to overturn the High Court decision.