Malaysian mothers of children born abroad begin citizenship application process after court ruling

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JOHOR BARU: After years of rejection, several Malaysian women have finally been able to apply for citizenship for their children born abroad.

The Association of Family Support and Welfare Selangor and Kuala Lumpur (Family Frontiers) said three women managed to obtain citizenship document forms at the National Registration Department (NRD) headquarters in Putrajaya on Wednesday (December 29th), as the ‘ cleared the High Court.

This followed the Court of Appeal’s rejection of a government request to suspend a High Court decision on December 22, which ruled that children born overseas to Malaysian women with foreign spouses could obtain citizenship automatically.

The three women who visited the NRD headquarters were among the plaintiffs named in the case.

Family Frontiers chairman Suriani Kempe said the trip to the NRD brought the High Court judgment to life and confirmed that Malaysian women have an equal right to automatically confer citizenship on their children.

“They (the women) entered and the BDNI officers quickly and efficiently facilitated the process of obtaining their citizenship confirmation certificate, which will be issued within three months.

“Then, their children will finally be recognized as Malaysian citizens, and mothers can use the citizenship confirmation certificate to obtain their children’s identity cards,” she said in a statement on Facebook.

She added that the NRD has informed Family Frontiers that it will issue instructions to all other NRD offices in the country, as well as Malaysian Embassies and Malaysian High Commissions to assist Malaysian mothers in this matter. .

She thanked the NRD for their assistance in facilitating the application process under Section 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution and urged similarly concerned mothers to come to the nearest NRD office. relatives to obtain a MyKad or MyKid for their children.

In the same statement, Family Frontiers also highlighted the High Court ruling to dismiss the government’s request, even before the actual appeal was heard by the Court of Appeal in March 2022, as respectful of the status of women. Malaysians as equal citizens, individuals of equal value and dignity as men.

“To pursue the appeal makes no logical, moral or economic sense, as it is devoid of compassion and blind to the lived realities of Malaysian women and their children,” it read.

One of the plaintiffs, Adlyn Adam Teoh, said she was relieved by the case, which had bothered them for years.

“I am immensely relieved that the court order has been complied with (by the BDNI) and I look forward to the Ministry’s processing of the documents relevant to my child’s citizenship.

“It was long overdue,” she added.

On December 18 last year, Kempe and six Malaysian women filed a lawsuit, seeking six specific court orders, including a statement that Section 1(b) and Section 1(c) should be read in conjunction. Harmony with Article 8(2) to include Malaysian mothers as a condition for children born overseas to automatically obtain Malaysian citizenship.

They named the government, the Minister of the Interior and the director general of the NRD as accused.

The High Court has ruled that Malaysian mothers have the same right as Malaysian fathers under the Federal Constitution to pass citizenship to their children born overseas.

It also ordered relevant authorities to issue citizenship documents (including passports and identity cards) to children born overseas to Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses.

However, on September 14, the defendants appealed against the High Court’s decision to issue citizenship documents to children born overseas to Malaysian mothers.

The following day, the High Court rejected the Government’s request for a stay, leading the Government to appeal to the Court of Appeal to seek a stay of the High Court’s earlier decision.

The Court of Appeal’s unanimous rejection of the government’s request on December 22 means the government would have to issue citizenship-related documents when applying for children born overseas to Malaysian mothers and their foreign spouses, even before the actual appeal is heard next March. year.

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