PETALING JAYA: Wanita MCA fully supports the call to amend the Federal Constitution to accord citizenship to children born to Malaysian mothers.
Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie (pic) said the party would back the Government if it pushed for amendment to Article 15 of the Constitution to grant citizenship to children born either locally or abroad to Malaysian mothers.
She said Pakatan Harapan would have fulfilled its election promise guaranteeing gender equality if it succeeded in making the bold step to amend the Constitution to accord Malaysian mothers equal rights to register their children as citizens.
Heng noted at the moment, only Malaysian fathers married to foreigners had the privilege to register their children as Malaysian citizens.
Heng called on all MPs and senators regardless of political alignment to support any initiative undertaken to amend the laws aimed at upholding gender equality and ending gender discrimination.
"Recognising the citizenship rights of children born to non-Malaysian fathers is a matter of addressing human rights and ending gender discrimination.
"It has nothing to do with political affiliation or ideology," she said in a statement Friday (Sept 20).
She said amending such a law would not only empower women but would also uphold gender equality as enshrined in Article 8 of the Constitution.
It states that "there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent, place of birth or gender in any law."
"Wanita MCA also wishes to draw attention to Section 12 of the Immigration Act 1959/1963 (Act 155), which provides for endorsement of the name of the wife and children on permits, passes and certificates but not that of the name of the husband and children.
"This section too should be amended to effect equal citizenship rights to the Malaysian wife and her children," she said.
Heng claimed children who were yet to be granted citizenship were being discriminated at schools, as well as at government hospitals and clinics, as they have to pay full fees.
"This can be a burden to families in the B40 (bottom 40% socio-economic) group," she said, saying some may be forced to drop out of school if their families could not afford the fees.
"Such children were also denied access to passports. When they grow up, their job conditions would be similar to those imposed on foreign workers," she added.