[PRESS STATEMENT] Urging the Malaysian Government To Not Appeal Against High Court Ruling on Citizenship Conferment By Malaysian Mothers

Picture from Malay Mail

We, the undersigned Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and individuals, applaud the landmark decision by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on September 9, 2021, that affirmed Malaysian women’s right to confer citizenship automatically on their children born overseas on an equal basis with Malaysian men.

The Court ruled that Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution together with the Second Schedule, Part II, 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. High Court judge Dato’ Akhtar bin Tahir ruled that the word ‘father’ must therefore be read to include ‘mother’, and that their children are entitled to citizenship by operation of law.

In light of the momentous decision, we strongly urge the Government of Malaysia not to appeal against this ruling. This will then enable all Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara offices and Malaysian embassies worldwide to expedite the registration of Malaysian Identification documents for children born overseas of Malaysian mothers and non-Malaysian fathers.

This decision is being celebrated locally and globally as a step in the right direction for Malaysia in creating a just, democratic, and egalitarian society, as Malaysia continues to participate in the international arena. We see the Rakyat from all walks of life joyously welcoming this decision and we invite the Government to hear our calls for justice by accepting this decision and focusing on implementing it expeditiously.

We believe that with a Malaysia seeking a seat on the Human Rights Council, the Government is well-placed to lead by example, the countries yet to reform their unequal nationality laws. This is an incredible opportunity and responsibility to do right by Malaysian women and their children, by not appealing against this ruling by the High Court, and once and for all ending the gender discrimination in the conferment of citizenship on children born overseas to Malaysian women.

This statement is initiated by Family Frontiers.

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