DNA test not conclusive proof in citizenship application, says Home Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: The results of a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test are not conclusive proof when it comes to granting citizenship to a child born abroad to a Malaysian father, says the Home Ministry.

"The DNA test result is only a supporting document to verify blood ties of a person with family members, specially between children and mother or father or with other siblings and is not conclusive proof in citizenship," said Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution.

"This is because each application still has to follow other laws, particularly related to the registration of marriage," he added in a written reply in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Feb 16).

Saifuddin was responding to a question raised by Cha Kee Chin (PH-Rasah) who asked if the DNA test result is recognition of proof of a father-child relationship for the granting of citizenship.

Cha wanted to know the current stand of the government regarding a child born to a foreign mother abroad whose marriage to the Malaysian father had been registered.

He said that an individual's citizenship is determined by the marriage registration and citizenship status of a couple during the child's birth in accordance with the Federal Constitution including related laws and Immigration regulations.

For example, he said that the marriage registration of the non-Muslim parents of a child is governed by the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act.

He added that if a child is born before a couple's marriage registration, the child's citizenship status follows the citizenship status of the mother.

However, he said the parents concerned can apply for Malaysian citizenship under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution if the child is below 21 and fulfills related laws and regulations.

"It must be remembered that these conditions only allow an application to be made but are not a guarantee that the application will be approved," said Saifuddin.

Last December, the Federal Court granted leave for a woman, six mothers and an NGO to proceed with their legal challenge on automatic citizenship for children born overseas to Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses.

The decision to allow the appeal comes after an earlier ruling by the Court of Appeal in August last year stating that only children born overseas to Malaysian fathers who are married to foreign spouses are entitled to citizenship by operation of law.

Last September, Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said filed a Private Member's Bill in Dewan Rakyat calling for a constitutional amendment in relation to the citizenship of children born abroad to Malaysian mothers.

Azalina was the chairman of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Women and Children Affairs and Social Development.

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