Landmark citizenship ruling

IPOH: A five-year-old girl, born in the country to a Malaysian father and Chinese national mother, has been granted citizenship by the Ipoh High Court.

In the landmark decision, Justice Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed said the girl has fulfilled several conditions under Article 14 (1) (b) of the Federal Constitution to deserve her Malaysian citizenship.

Abdul Wahid said the first condition was that the child was born in Malaysia after Malaysia Day.

He also said another condition met was that one of the parents was a Malaysian.

“The child was born in Malaysia, does not have any other passports or citizenship.

“Having deliberated at length, I found the child has satisfied the terms to be a Malaysian citizen, allowing her to get her citizenship,” he said here yesterday.

The girl was born in Ipoh on June 26, 2016, and was deemed a stateless person as her parents had not been married at that time.

The parents had only registered their marriage legally at the National Registration Department (NRD) in Putrajaya three months after the child was born.

The originating summons for the case was filed in December 2019 according to Section 14 1 (a) and 1 (e) of the Federal Constitution.

The High Court here had then on Sept 4, 2019, declared the girl to be a legitimate child of her parents.

The girl has a younger brother – born on Sept 19, 2018 – who has obtained his citizenship.

The girl was represented by lawyers Ong Yu Shin, Datuk Nicholas Kow and Andy Ooi Keng Liang.

When met outside the court, Kow said a precedent has been set with the decision.

“The father is a Malaysian, the child was born in Malaysia but the mother is a foreigner.

“This case has settled that the child will be a Malaysian citizen. At least now the law has been settled by the virtue of this case,” he said.

“Each and every citizenship case is fact-centric. The facts of this case are totally different from other cases,” he added.

Ooi said they have conveyed the judge’s decision to the parents, who were not present.

“They thanked the court and the judge immensely. We will try to get citizenship for the child as fast as possible,” he said, adding, “We will also wait to get the written grounds to get more details.”

Ong said they are happy with the outcome.

“It was a very long judgment with a total of 51 pages. The judge found that whether the parents were legitimately married or not when she was born, was not relevant to the case,” he said, hoping that the NRD will not appeal the decision.

“The whole family can be together now,” he added.

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