KUALA LUMPUR: There is no discrimination against Malaysian women with regard to the citizenship of children born abroad through marriages with foreigners, says Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said .
"I understand the feelings of mothers and women in the country that citizenship is granted automatically to children of Malaysian fathers born abroad through recognised and proper marriages to foreign women.
"But if a Malaysian woman marries a foreigner, irrespective if the marriage is proper and recognised, the child born abroad will not automatically be granted citizenship.
"This is to avoid the child possessing dual citizenship and in other countries, the child's citizenship will follow that of the father," he said when answering a question raised by Natrah Ismail (PH-Sekijang) in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Dec 3).
Natrah questioned why there is discrimination against Malaysian women with regard to the issue and whether the government intends to implement the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw).
She noted that it takes only about three months for children born through marriages with foreign wives to get their citizenship, while applications for those born through marriages with foreign men are rejected or takes years to process.
Mohamed Ismail noted that Malaysian citizenships are governed under Article 14 and 15 of the Federal Constitution.
He said Malaysian women, whose children are born abroad through foreign marriages and yet to obtain any citizenship, can apply to the National Registration Department for citizenship.
"If the public and non-governmental organisations are facing problems, they can meet officers at the National Registration Department.
"The issue of citizenship is a question of security and sovereignty," he added.