Government must Uphold Equal Citizenship Right of Malaysian Mothers

Government must Uphold Equal Citizenship Right of Malaysian Mothers

13 September 2021
Petition to
YAB Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Perdana Menteri Malaysia) and
Signatures: 50,308Next Goal: 75,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Family Frontiers

BREAKING: Federal Court Grants Family Frontiers Leave to Appeal in Suriani Kempe Case

The Federal Court has granted Family Frontiers leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal's 2-1 decision in the Suriani Kempe case. On 5 August 2022, the Court of Appeal ruled that Malaysian women are not entitled to pass on their citizenship to their overseas born children. The Federal Court will now proceed to hear the substantive argument of the appeal, restoring the hope of impacted Malaysian women who have been fighting for decades now for equality and the legal recognition of their children’s right to be Malaysian citizens.

“Malaysian mothers are eager for the substantive arguments of the case to be heard in court because we believe that it is in the courts where we will find justice. This is a longstanding issue, and we want to underscore the urgency of finding a remedy to this inequality; each day that passes prolongs the harmful effects of this discrimination on Malaysian mothers and their children,” said Family Frontiers president, Suriani Kempe.

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The Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled on 9 September that Malaysian mothers can pass on automatic citizenship to their overseas-born children, on an equal basis as Malaysian fathers.

"I can't wait to tell my daughter that she's Malaysian, just like her brother," said a Malaysian mother.

72 hours later, the Malaysian Government filed an appeal against this decision. Not only that, the Government had filed a total of 3 stay applications to halt its implementation. 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.

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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Signatures: 50,308Next Goal: 75,000
Support now