The Cabinet meeting tomorrow is expected to deliberate on the issue of citizenship for children born abroad to Malaysian women married to foreigners, for which there is presently no provision in the Federal Constitution.
Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said the government was ready to look at the issue in detail in terms of policies related to help solve the problem in the best way.
“The Cabinet has decided that tomorrow’s meeting will invite Attorney-General Idrus Harun to give advice on how we should move on.
“It (the issue) received a very positive response from my Cabinet colleagues. This is a very serious issue. It is an issue of discrimination and human rights,” he told reporters after receiving a petition and an open letter on the matter to the Cabinet from Family Frontiers Malaysia outside Parliament today.
He said the matter was brought up at the Cabinet meeting last week by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Harun.
Saifuddin said yesterday, Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin when winding up the debate for his ministry in the Dewan Rakyat had clearly stated that the government would refer the matter to the Conference of Rulers with the intention of implementing constitutional amendments.
“This is because under the constitution, citizenship matters involve the consent of the Conference of Rulers,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of the Cabinet advising the attorney-general to withdraw the government’s appeal on a court decision regarding the matter at the meeting, Saifuddin said the attorney-general is the adviser to the government and that they will discuss the technicalities tomorrow.
On Sept 9, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that children born abroad to Malaysian women married to foreigners are automatically entitled to citizenship.
High Court judge Akhtar Tahir ruled that the word “father” in the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution should mean and include mother as well.
However, on Sept 13, the government decided to file an appeal to quash the High Court’s decision.