Annuar Musa has appeared to back the right of Malaysian mothers to automatic citizenship for their children born abroad, as criticism grows over Putrajaya’s decision to appeal against a recent judgment.
“I think the voice of Malaysian mothers should be heard,” Annuar, the communications and multimedia minister, said in a brief comment.
He said as the issue touches on laws and policy, it should be discussed at the Cabinet level.
“I believe the Cabinet is the most suitable forum to discuss this matter in the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia,” he said, referring to the phrase promoted by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
At least two ministers have welcomed the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s ruling last week that children born overseas to Malaysian women married to foreigners are automatically entitled to Malaysian citizenship by operation of law.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin urged the government to implement the decision, while Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, the law minister, said the court ruling was in line with the constitution’s guarantee of non-discrimination.
Despite this, Putrajaya said it would appeal the ruling, drawing criticism from rights groups and several opposition politicians.
On Sept 9, judge Akhtar Tahir ruled that Malaysian women married to foreign men have the same right as Malaysian men married to foreign women in this regard.
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.