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Children born to Malaysian women overseas entitled to citizenship, court rules

The suit had gone for full trial before High Court judge Akhtar Tahir.

Staff Writers
1 minute read
The Kuala Lumpur court complex which houses the High Court.
The Kuala Lumpur court complex which houses the High Court.

The High Court in Kuala Lumpur today ruled that children born overseas to Malaysian women married to foreigners are automatically entitled to Malaysian citizenship.

Judge Akhtar Tahir ruled in an online proceeding that Malaysian women married to foreign men have the same right as Malaysian men married to foreign women to citizenship through the operation of law for children born abroad.

The suit was filed on Dec 18 last year by the Association of Family Support & Welfare Selangor & Kuala Lumpur (Family Frontiers) and six Malaysian women married to foreigners.

They sought six specific court orders, including a declaration that Section 1(b) and Section 1(c) of the Second Schedule, Part II of the Federal Constitution be read harmoniously with Article 8 (2) to include Malaysian mothers as a condition for children born abroad to be given automatic Malaysian citizenship.

They also sought, among others, a court order for all relevant government agencies, including the National Registration Department, immigration department and Malaysian embassies, to issue all documents relating to citizenship – including passports and identity cards – to children born abroad to Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses.

The government through the Attorney-General’s Chambers had applied to strike out the suit, saying it was scandalous, frivolous and vexatious, and an abuse of court process.

However, the High Court on May 16 dismissed the application. The Court of Appeal on Aug 20 also dismissed the government’s bid, sending it for full trial at the High Court.

Gurdial Singh Nijar, who represented the Malaysian women, hailed a “momentous decision”, saying the rules had “disrupted family structures”, AFP reported.

There was no immediate reaction from the government.