• Ilona Andrew

Children born overseas to Malaysian mothers now eligible for citizenship


Illustration purposes only

9 Sept 2021

By Ilona Andrew


KUALA LUMPUR: Babies born overseas to Malaysian women with foreign spouses will be eligible for Malaysian citizenship, the High Court here ruled today.


In a statement today, Family Frontiers Malaysia said that judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir ruled that the word 'father' must therefore be read to include mothers and that their children are entitled to citizenship by operation of law.


"Family Frontiers celebrates the momentous decision by the Kuala Lumpur High Court affirming the right of Malaysian mothers to confer citizenship by operation of law on their children born abroad on an equal basis with Malaysian men.


"The court ruled that Article14 (1)(b) of the Federal Constitution (FC) together with the Second Schedule, Part ll, section 1(b) of the FC, pertaining to citizenship rights, must be read in harmony with Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender," said the association.


Akhtar emphasised that the Courts are empowered to interpret the law to uphold the spirit of the FC and ensure justice, it added.


According to the association, the judge also mentioned that the case does not seek to change policy but rather to apply existing law in a way that will find a remedy for the grievance of the plaintiffs.


"Malaysian mothers have faced family separation, along with obstacles to accessing residency, education, healthcare, and social services for their children.


"Today's ruling is a monumental step in the direction of gender equality."