IPOH, October 25 — A five-old-year girl, who was previously stateless, can proudly call herself a Malaysian after the High Court here granted her citizenship and ordered the National Registration Department (NRD) to issue her an identification card.
The government previously refused to recognise the child as a citizen as she was born to a Malaysian father, Ong Chin Hock and Chinese national mother who was not married at that time and was considered illegitimate.
The child can’t be named and can only be identified as OXT.
In his decision today, Judge Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed said that the child deserves to be a Malaysian citizen as she fulfills two conditions under Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution.
“It is undisputed that the child was born in the country after Malaysia day.
“Secondly, the child also fulfils two qualifications in Part II of the Second Schedule which is Section (1)(a) and Section (1)(e),” he said.
Section (1)(a) refers to every person born within the Federation of whose parents one at least is at the time of the birth either a citizen or permanent resident in the Federation while Section (1)(e) refers to every person born within the Federation who is not born a citizen of any country otherwise than by virtue of this paragraph.
Abdul Wahab also noted that there is no evidence that the child has other citizenship or passport of any other country or leave the country since the day she was born.
OXT was born on June 24, 2016, in a private hospital in Ipoh but was not granted citizenship as her parents had not been married at the time.
The couple in their late 30s registered their marriage legally at the National Registration Department in Putrajaya three months after the child was born and has been applying for her citizenship since 2017.
In September 2019, the High Court here declared OXT to be the legitimate child of her parents as Malaysian law allows non-Muslim couples to legitimise child by marrying later.
The parents also obtained DNA results proving that OXT was their biological child two months later. Subsequently, the parents filed the lawsuit through the originating summons in December 2019.
OXT was the only person declared stateless in the family, as her younger brother who was born on September 19, 2018 to the same parents was Malaysian.
The parents were represented by lawyers Ong Yu Shin, Datuk Nicholas Kow, Andy Ooi Keng Liang.
Ong, when met outside the court told reporters that they are happy that the whole family can now be together.
“It’s a very long judgment with a total of 51 pages. In gist, I could say that the judge found that whether the parents legitimately married or not when the child was born was not really relevant in this case.
“This is because the girl was born in Malaysia after Malaysia Day and has no other passport or no other citizenship,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kow said that this case is a landmark decision.
“It is a landmark decision in a way because the father is a Malaysian, the child is born in Malaysia but the mother is a foreigner. This case has settled that the child will be a Malaysian citizen.
“So at least now the law has been settled by the virtue of this case. Every citizenship case is fact-centric. The facts of this case are totally different from other cases
Ooi said that they have conveyed the court’s decision to the parents of the child.
“The parents thank this Court. They are very grateful for His wisdom in this case.
“The only hope now is that NRD will not appeal on the decision,” he said.
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