High Court to hear automatic citizenship suit by six mothers, NGO against govt on Aug 24

  • Nation
  • Friday, 20 Aug 2021

PUTRAJAYA: The government has failed in its appeal to strike out a lawsuit filed by a non-governmental organisation and six Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses who are seeking for their children, born abroad, to be given automatic citizenship.

A three-man Court of Appeal bench chaired by Justice Azizah Nawawi dismissed the appeal in a unanimous decision via Zoom proceedings on Friday (Aug 20).

Other judges on the bench were justices Abu Bakar Jais and Mariana Yahya.

The court did not make any order as to costs and the suit itself will be heard on Aug 24 before High Court judge Justice Akhtar Tahir.

On Dec 18 last year, Association of Family Support & Welfare Selangor & Kuala Lumpur (Family Frontiers) president Suriani Kempe and the six Malaysian women filed the suit seeking six specific court orders, including a declaration that Section 1(b) and Section 1(c) be read harmoniously with Article 8(2) to include Malaysian mothers as a condition for children born abroad to be given automatic Malaysian citizenship.

The group is also seeking, among others, a court order for all relevant government agencies including the National Registration Department, the Immigration Department and Malaysian embassies to issue citizenship documents (including passports and identity cards) to children born abroad to Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses.

In April, the government filed the striking-out application on grounds that the lawsuit was scandalous, frivolous and vexatious and an abuse of the court process.

On May 6, Justice Akhtar dismissed the striking-out application, as he said there was apparent and unjustified discrimination against the parents of a child born out of the Federation of Malaysia.

The government then went to appeal against the dismissal at the appellate court, which was heard on Friday.

Senior Federal Counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly appeared for the government while lawyer Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar appeared for the plaintiffs.

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