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Court rejects govt’s bid to defer decision of citizenship for children born overseas

15 Nov 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today has rejected the government's application to postpone its decision to grant automatic citizenship rights to babies born abroad by Malaysian mothers and their foreign spouses.

Lawyer Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar said Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir made the decision that it would cause continued prejudice and suffering to the six Malaysian women who acted as plaintiffs.

Gurdial, who represented the six women, said the judge informed the mother (plaintiff) that she had waited far too long and so they could not wait any longer for an indefinite period in the appeal process.

"The judge found that the position of the defendants (the Malaysian Government) to be conflicting. On the one hand, they said the amendment to the Constitution to give that right to the mother must be approved first by the conference of rulers.

"The judge said, this assumes that the amendment is necessary. However, according to the court, there is no question of amendment because the court has already ruled that the mother has the right according to the Constitution.

"Furthermore, the judge found that if the amendment has been approved, there was no issue to withdraw any document issued to the mother as directed by the court.

“The judge also explained that if the defendants intend to amend the Constitution in line with the court's decision, then they should not place any difficulties on the mothers," he said this after the proceedings of the case.

He said the court also ordered the government, represented by Senior Federal Counsel Liew Horng Bin, to pay costs of RM5,000.

On September 9, through a top judgment in the country, Akhtar ruled that babies born abroad by Malaysian mothers and their foreign spouses are automatically entitled to the country's citizenship.

He made the decision through a suit filed by Family Frontiers, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), and six Malaysian women on December 18 last year.

They named the Malaysian Government, the Home Minister and the Director General of the National Registration Department as defendants.

Akhtar ruled that Malaysian women who married foreign men have the same right as Malaysian men who marry foreign women to grant citizenship through the legal process on their children born overseas.



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