Monday, January 24, 2022

Govt loses bid to stay High Court ruling on equal citizenship

A Court of Appeal bench says it is not persuaded that there are special circumstances warranting a stay.

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The Court of Appeal today dismissed the government’s application to stay a High Court ruling that children born overseas to Malaysian women married to foreigners are entitled to be Malaysian citizens, pending the disposal of an appeal.

A three-member panel led by justice Kamaludin Md Said, in a unanimous decision, said the court was not persuaded that there were special circumstances for the appellate court to grant a stay.

“We take the view that this is not an ordinary case of stay involving chattels or monetary judgment. It involves the rights of children and these rights have been recognised by the High Court order.

“In our view, the situation and circumstances are compelling and the respondents (Family Frontiers and six Malaysian women) should not be deprived of the fruits of the declaratory judgment of the High Court.

“The government’s application to stay a High Court ruling is dismissed with no order as to costs,” said Kamaludin, who sat with justices S Nantha Balan and See Mee Chun in the online proceedings.

Senior federal counsel Liew Horng Bin appeared for the appellants while counsel Gurdial Singh Nijar, Joshua Andran and Abraham Au represented the respondents.

The Malaysian government, home minister and National Registration Department (JPN) director-general as the appellants had filed a stay application pending the hearing of their appeal against the High Court’s decision declaring that children born overseas to Malaysian women who are married to foreigners are entitled by operation of the law to be Malaysian citizens.

The Court of Appeal fixed March 23 next year to hear the appellants’ appeal against the High Court’s decision.

On Sept 9 this year, a High Court allowed a legal suit brought by the Association of Family Support & Welfare, Selangor & Kuala Lumpur (Family Frontiers) and six Malaysian women married to foreigners.

In their originating summons, 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 a court order for all relevant government agencies, including JPN, the immigration department and Malaysian embassies, to issue documents relating to citizenship, including passports and identity cards, to children born abroad to Malaysian women with foreign spouses.

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