After years of legal battles, three stateless children get citizenship

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 14 Feb 2019

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): It's a joyous day for three stateless children who were born in Malaysia as the Home Affairs Ministry has agreed to register them as citizens of Malaysia.

Lawyer Datuk Dr Cyrus Das informed the court that they received the letters from the ministry Thursday (Feb 14) morning, approving citizenship for the three boys under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution.

He, however, requested an assurance that the children's birth certificates also be amended as they were in red and carried an endorsement "bukan warganegara" (non-citizen).

The Home Ministry's legal adviser Mohammad Al-Saifi Hashim confirmed the matter and said due process would take place after the minister grants their citizenship under special circumstances.

Das represented the families of the two teenage boys, aged 17 and 18 years, while lawyer Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram appeared for the family of an eight-year-old boy.

The families of the three children have brought their cases to the court for declaration after the children were denied citizenship.

The teenagers, whose birth parents are unknown, were separately adopted by two Malaysian couples while the eight-year-old boy was born to a Malaysian father and a Thai mother who were not legally married when he was born.

Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, who led the bench, subsequently struck out the appeals and reference applications after Das and Sri Ram respectively informed the court that they were withdrawing the appeals and reference applications.

On Sept 11, 2017, the Federal Court granted the leave to appeal on several legal questions including whether the reference to blood or lineage was required under the Federal Constitution in determining the citizenship of a child.

The other judges presiding on the bench were Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim, Federal Court judges Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed, Datuk Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin, Datuk Rohana Yusuf, Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, Tan Sri Idrus Harun and Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan. – Bernama

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