Children born to Malaysian women overseas can still apply to be citizens, says AG

PUTRAJAYA: Children born overseas to Malaysian women married to foreign spouses may not get automatic citizenship at birth but they can still apply to be Malaysians, says Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun.

Idrus acknowledged that the process takes a longer time.

“This process and all matters involving this issue are being looked into by the Home Ministry,” said Idrus at the Malaysian Family symposium on Sunday (Aug 21).

He said that another option to this issue would be to amend the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

The Second Schedule, Part II of the Federal Constitution states that the biological father cannot be extended to include the mother or parents.

Idrus also pointed out that a child born in Malaysia is a citizen by operation of law as long as a parent is a Malaysian citizen.

The Court of Appeal, in reversing a High Court ruling recently, ruled that children born to Malaysian women married to foreign spouses were not entitled to by operation of law be Malaysian citizens.

Previously, the Association of Family Support & Welfare Selangor & Kuala Lumpur (Family Frontiers) and six Malaysian women who are married to foreigners with overseas-born children had, on Sept 9, 2021, succeeded in their lawsuit in the High Court.

The High Court, in its decision to allow children born overseas to Malaysian mothers married to foreigners to automatically be entitled to citizenship by operation of law, had held that the word “father” in Section 1(b) must be read to include mother.

Idrus said that he was asked what is the policy on the same matter in Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia.

He said in Singapore, one can have dual citizenship until the person reaches 21 years of age, adding that Malaysia does not recognise dual citizenship.

“Once you have reached that age, one will have to choose if one wants to remain as a Singaporean. If this is the case, one will have to renounce the other citizenship,” he said.

Brunei’s policy on citizenship is the same as Malaysia while for Indonesia, both parents must be citizens for a child born outside the country.

On another matter, the Malay Mail reported Idrus as saying that the supposedly leaked investigation paper on judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali was not with the Attorney General's chambers.

"What do you mean by not authentic? I don't know. It is not with us," he replied when asked if the leaked investigation papers were real.

Last week, in a statement posted on Twitter, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan claimed that a document alleged to be the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) investigation papers on Mohd Nazlan had been leaked.

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