Government must Uphold High Court Decision on Equal Citizenship Right of Malaysian Mothers

Government must Uphold High Court Decision on Equal Citizenship Right of Malaysian Mothers

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Family Frontiers started this petition to Dato' Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob (Perdana Menteri Malaysia) and

"I can't wait to tell my daughter that she's Malaysian, just like her brother," said a Malaysian mother when the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled on 9th September that Malaysian mothers can pass on automatic citizenship to their overseas-born children, on an equal basis as Malaysian fathers.

72 hours later, the Malaysian Government filed an appeal against this decision. We see this as a betrayal of the rights that are long overdue to Malaysian women. The Government had an opportunity to embrace the High Court’s decision, and move the needle towards greater justice and equality for its women citizens. Instead, the Government has chosen to perpetuate this gross injustice that has plagued Malaysia since independence, the weight of which Malaysian women have borne for 58 long years.

The Government repeatedly refuses to accept the ruling by the Kuala Lumpur High Court. High Court judge Dato’ Akhtar bin Tahir ruled that the word ‘father’ in the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution must be read to include ‘mother’ and that their children born overseas are citizens by operation of law.

The Court determined that provisions pertaining to citizenship rights—namely Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution (FC) together with the Second Schedule, Part II, Section 1(b) and 1(c) of the FC—must be read in harmony with Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.

The judgment lifted the anxiety that plagued us with the uncertainty of our children’s status, well-being, and future. It would finally give the children of these Malaysian mothers equal access to basic rights such as education and affordable healthcare, and the ability to remain with their family instead of being torn apart.

By not upholding this High Court decision and issuing relevant identity documents to these children, the Government delays justice to Malaysian women and their children. Justice delayed is justice denied.

We call on Malaysians, both in the country and abroad, to sign this petition calling on the Government to uphold this High Court decision.

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