SUPP Women chief Kho Teck Wan

KUCHING: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Women chief Kho Teck Wan has urged lawmakers to amend citizenship laws to be clear and direct in granting automatic citizenship to children born in Malaysia.

She noted that adoption and citizenship laws were complex and very restrictive, but said that she could not help but feel disappointed to learn that a Sarawak-born teenager had failed in his bid for Malaysian citizenship.

She was referring to a recent case whereby a Sarawak-born teenage boy had failed in his bid to be recognised as a Malaysian citizen, with the High Court ruling that his adoption by a Malaysian couple did not mean he would be granted citizenship automatically. 

“In the case of the Sarawak-born teenager or any case where a child is born with a foreign mother, being stateless means he or she is unable to travel to obtain citizenship elsewhere as well,” she said in a statement on Saturday.

She said that many had waited for years to obtain citizenship, while others had failed just like the teenager.

“They are literally stuck in Malaysia while being denied all citizenship rights,” she added.

In her aforementioned call to lawmakers to amend citizenship laws, Kho pointed out that the circumstances of how a baby arrived in the world was beyond his or her control.

“I hope our legal system focuses on the wellbeing and future of the stateless individual instead of factors beyond his or her control,” she said.