Citizenship in Malaysia: When a mother's blood isn't good enough

Surely in this day and age, when the world is battling gender inequality, we shouldn’t deny Malaysian mothers the right to confer citizenship on their children who were born abroad, just as Malaysian fathers are allowed to, says the columnist. —

I've never really thought about the lyrics of Malaysia's national anthem, Negaraku, before, especially the opening line: “Negaraku, tanah tumpahnya darahku”. The literal translation into English would be, “My country, the land upon which my blood has spilled”, but there’s clearly some poetic licence to be exercised. The English translation on Wikipedia has it as “My motherland, land of my birth”, while I’ve seen the more passionate “My country that I live and die for”.

It reminds me of the concept of jus soli (the right of the soil), or birthright citizenship, which is the idea that if you are born in a country, you are automatically a citizen of that country. This was the principle applied in the early days of Malaya and Malaysia, that if you were born here before a certain date, no matter who your parents were, you were considered a citizen.

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Constitution , gender disparity , equality


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