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Cabinet gives green light to amendments on equal citizenship

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2023 is expected to be tabled during the current Parliament sitting as it has met the necessary legal requirements.

Bernama
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Members of the public wait at the National Registration Department in Putrajaya, in this file picture. Photo: Bernama
Members of the public wait at the National Registration Department in Putrajaya, in this file picture. Photo: Bernama

The Cabinet has approved draft constitutional amendments to grant automatic citizenship to children born overseas to Malaysian women married to foreigners.

In a joint statement today, Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Azalina Othman Said said this was decided at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

They said the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2023 was expected to be tabled during the current Parliament sitting as it had met the necessary legal requirements.

They said the amendments would involve Section 1(1)(d) and Section 1(1)(e) of Part I, Schedule Two and Section 1(b) and Section 1 (c) of Part II of the same schedule.

"The proposed amendments to the Federal Constitution on this matter are to replace the words 'their father' in Part I and Part II of Schedule Two with the phrase 'at least one of the parents' to enable Malaysian mothers to enjoy equitable rights under the Federal Constitution.
 
"However, other amendments related to citizenship, especially Part III, will be studied in greater detail by a committee established under the home ministry and will be tabled before the Cabinet after these proposed amendments have been finalised, taking into consideration feedback from engagements with all interested parties," Saifuddin and Azalina said.

They said this was in line with the commitment of the government to recognise the equal rights enjoyed by women and men, eliminate discrimination against women, overcome weaknesses in citizenship provisions and resolve the backlog of such cases affecting Malaysian women.

"The effect of this decision is that children born overseas before or after Malaysia Day where one of their parents is a Malaysian have the right to get citizenship by operation of Clause (1) of Article 14 of the Federal Constitution," the statement said.

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