The home ministry has expressed its sympathy for cases involving Malaysian mothers who give birth abroad but cannot obtain citizenship for their children because the Federal Constitution does not allow them to do so.
Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin said there was no provision in the Federal Constitution allowing these children to be granted citizenship.
“The home ministry intends to bring this matter to get a new government policy to amend the constitution to make it easier for (Malaysian) mothers to give birth to their children abroad, even if they are married to foreigners.
“At the same time, this matter needs to be approved by the Conference of Rulers in accordance with Article 159 (5) of the Federal Constitution,” he said when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s royal address in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Hamzah added that he was bound by the existing legislation regarding citizenship, provided for in Part III of the Federal Constitution and the Citizenship Rules 1964.
On Sept 9, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers who are married to foreigners are entitled by operation of law to be citizens of Malaysia.
High Court judge Akhtar Tahir ruled that the word “father” in Part II of the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution must also mean and include mothers.
However, on Sept 13, the government decided to file an appeal to quash the High Court’s decision.
Several MPs, including opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson), Teo Nie Ching (PH-Kulai) and Nazri Aziz (BN-Padang Rengas), had raised the issue of the appeal filed by the attorney-general against the High Court decision regarding the issue of citizenship, during the debate session.