Mums seeking citizenship for kids born abroad to get their day in court

PUTRAJAYA: A lawsuit filed by an NGO and six Malaysian mothers, seeking automatic citizenship for their children born abroad, will be heard after the government failed in its appeal to strike it out.

The lawsuit will go for a hearing fixed for Aug 24 before High Court Justice Akhtar Tahir.

A three-man bench of the Court of Appeal, chaired by Justice Azizah Nawawi, dismissed the appeal in a unanimous decision via Zoom proceedings yesterday.

The court did not make any order as to costs.

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

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

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

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