KOTA KINABALU: Malaysian women with foreign spouses whose children were born overseas are advised to follow up on their applications for Malaysian citizenship for their children.
Former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew (photo) offered the advice in the wake of the Court of Appeal’s (COA) dismissal of an application by the National Registration Department (JPN), the Home Ministry and the Government for a stay of execution of the High Court decision in granting citizenship to children born abroad to Malaysian mothers married to foreigners.
The Tawau MP noted that apart from the six plaintiffs in Kuala Lumpur who had successfully won the suit against the Government, other Malaysian mothers who are facing a similar situation are asked to start applying for citizenship for their affected children so that they (children) can enrol in public schools and have access to healthcare and other public facilities.
“We are greatly encouraged by reports that the JPN Headquarters in Putrajaya would be issuing standard operating procedures (SOPs) to all other JPN offices in the country to facilitate the processing of applications by Malaysian mothers concerned for their children to acquire Malaysian citizenship.
“I understand that many Malaysian mothers have already applied for their children’s rightful citizenship status. In one particular case in Sabah, the mother’s application was made as far back as 2016 but has yet to be approved,” Liew, who is also Api Api Assemblywoman, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The High Court’s landmark decision that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers and foreign fathers are entitled to Malaysian citizenship by operation of law was made on September 9, 2021.
Following the September 9 ruling, the Government had on September 13, 2021 filed its Notice to appeal to the COA to challenge the High Court decision.
On December 22, 2021, the COA had unanimously dismissed the Malaysian Government’s application to stay or temporarily suspend the issuance of citizenship documents to children born overseas to Malaysian mothers.
It is understood that the COA will still hear the Government’s appeal on March 23.
“I urge the Federal Government to withdraw its appeal against the High Court decision,” Liew added.
Prior to the High Court decision, Malaysian women were denied the right to confer nationality on their children on an equal basis as Malaysian men.