Dewan Negara to debate issue of citizenship for children born abroad to Malaysian women on Aug 11

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Negara will debate a motion related to the citizenship of children born abroad to Malaysian women on Thursday (Aug 11) afternoon after getting the nod from its deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Ali Mohamad.

Mohamad Ali said the motion on it moved by Senator Datuk Seri Zurainah Musa would be debated in accordance with Standing Order 17 (3) as it met three conditions, namely that it is of a specific nature, is of public interest and needs to be expedited.

"I allow the proposing side to debate for 30mins and after that the government will answer for 30mins, subject to the requests and statements from the Honorable Members who may participate in the debate according to the time given this afternoon," he said after the question-and- answer session in the Upper House on Thursday.

Earlier, Zurainah when tabling the motion said that it was brought up following the decision of the Court of Appeal on Aug 5 which had ruled on the issue of children born abroad to Malaysian mothers not being automatically granted Malaysian citizenship, unlike for men.

She said the decision of the Court of Appeal had placed the responsibility on Parliament to amend the Constitution for the sake of justice for the affected families, but Parliament depended on the relevant ministry to bring about the amendment.

Zurainah said the motion was not to question the court's decision but to seek an explanation from the Home Ministry regarding its commitment in bringing a constitutional amendment to Parliament on the matter.

""The delay in bringing this amendment affects the reputation of Parliament because it seems Parliament is not carrying out its duties. So far, there is no information from the ministry regarding the timeline nor the commitment to bring this amendment to Parliament," she said.

On Aug 5, the Court of Appeal in a 2-1 majority decision had ruled that children born abroad to Malaysian mothers married to foreigners are not legally entitled to Malaysian citizenship.

In September 2021, the Kuala Lumpur High Court had ruled that these children were entitled to Malaysian citizenship but the government appealed the decision.

The Court of Appeal held that it was up to Parliament, and not the courts, to resolve the issue because only the legislature could rewrite clauses in Malaysia’s constitution pertaining to the matter..- Bernama

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