Nazri Aziz: Denying citizenship to children born abroad to Malaysian mothers runs contrary to PM’s ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ concept

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The Padang Rengas MP said the manner by which the government is conducting itself by appealing the High Court’s decision makes a mockery of the ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ concept touted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. — Picture by Hari Anggara
The Padang Rengas MP said the manner by which the government is conducting itself by appealing the High Court’s decision makes a mockery of the ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ concept touted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — The government’s continued quest to deny children born abroad citizenship is “medieval” and discriminatory against women, said Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

The Padang Rengas MP said the manner by which the government is conducting itself by appealing the High Court’s decision makes a mockery of the “Keluarga Malaysia” concept touted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Nazri said the High Court had ruled in favour of granting citizenship to children born abroad to Malaysian mothers, but the government’s response was to appeal on the grounds that no Malaysian citizen can have two citizenships.

“A child can decide which citizenship they wish to take when they turn 18, but here we’re saying they cannot be a citizen from the start because their fathers are from abroad. That’s clearly discrimination against women.

“There is no excuse for what the government is doing apart from this being medieval thinking. The prime minister said we are one, we are all Keluarga Malaysia, but right from the beginning, we have rejected a genuine person who wants to be Malaysian without giving them the right to choose,” Nazri said in Parliament today.

“So take it back lah OK. No point continuing to pursue this,” he said.

On September 13, the government decided to appeal against a landmark September 9 court ruling which finally recognised children born abroad as Malaysian citizens.

The High Court had said the Federal Constitution’s citizenship provisions should not discriminate against Malaysian mothers and that their children born overseas too could be citizens by operation of law.

The court ruling had effectively removed a decades-long inequality that allowed Malaysian fathers with foreign spouses to pass on their citizenship to children born outside of Malaysia, but denied the same right to Malaysian mothers married to foreigners.

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