Many hopeful of citizenship


A TOTAL of 688 citizenship applications for children born abroad to Malaysian mothers have been received by the Home Ministry.

“There are 688 applications on my desk now. This matter falls under Article 15(2) of the Federal Constitution,” said Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

However, he acknowledged that there may be more cases “out there” that might not have made it through the application process.

“When the Constitution was drafted in the 1950s, no one thought females in the country would travel, meet their partners and build careers abroad,” he said during Question Time at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Earlier, Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) asked if such applications would be processed on a case-by-case basis once the Federal Constitution was amended to provide for automatic citizenship to children born abroad to Malaysian mothers.

In response, Saifuddin said there were several matters that needed to be ironed out, such as the issue of dual citizenship.

He said children born abroad to Malaysian mothers might have dual citizenship if the amendment was passed to allow automatic citizenship to these children.

Saifuddin: The Home Ministry has so far received 150,000 citizenship applications, most of which involved stateless children and children born out of wedlock. — BernamaSaifuddin: The Home Ministry has so far received 150,000 citizenship applications, most of which involved stateless children and children born out of wedlock. — Bernama

“Since Articles 24 and 25 of the Federal Constitution do not recognise dual citizenship, we must find a balance before making a big decision,” he added.

Saifuddin also said his ministry was making good progress on the proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution.

It was reported last month that the Cabinet had agreed to a proposal to amend the Federal Constitution to enable children born abroad to Malaysian mothers to be granted automatic Malaysian citizenship.

Saifuddin also said the ministry was planning to table updates on this proposed amendment to all MPs through engagement sessions.

“On Feb 17, a technical committee and Cabinet committee were formed to hold discussions. We are expecting them to take six months.

“This means that in September, we will be able to table findings from the technical committee to the Cabinet committee before they are brought to the Cabinet.

“If it is agreed upon, then it will be presented to the Conference of Rulers because Federal Constitution amendments need to be agreed upon by them”.

“I’m confident that we are on schedule,” he added.

Saifuddin also said 150,000 citizenship applications had been received so far by the ministry, most of which involved stateless children and children born out of wedlock.

The ministry, he said, had targeted to process 948 citizenship applications by June, involving communities living in the interiors and borders of Sarawak through the formation of a special team.

“The special team will travel in the interiors and prepare their documents,” he said.

The Cabinet Committee that is chaired by Saifuddin consists of several ministers, such as Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali.

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At The Dewan Rakyat

   

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