Constitutional amendments on citizenship to be presented to Rulers on July 12, says Home Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed Constitutional amendments related to citizenship will be presented to the Conference of Rulers on July 12, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

The Home Minister said the government was in the midst of finalising the proposed amendments comprehensively related to citizenship.

“If the proposed amendments receive royal assent, it will be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat during the third meeting of Parliament at the year-end in October,” he said in his wrap-up for his ministry while debating the Suhakam 2020 Annual Report in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Saifuddin said there are eight proposed amendments that seek to provide a comprehensive solution to the longstanding issue of citizenship.

Aside from automatic citizenship to children born to Malaysian women overseas with foreign spouses, the other amendments are to clauses and articles in the Federal Constitution relating to statelessness, late issuance of birth certificates as well as unregistered births, said the Home Minister.

Earlier, Roy Angau Gingkoi (GPS-Lubok Antu) said he hoped the National Registration Department (JPN) would not be too rigid in processing citizenship applications from rural Sarawakians.

He urged the government to grant autonomy to Sarawak to address the issue of statelessness.

Angau said some Sarawakians living in the rural areas have had their permanent residency and citizenship applications rejected by authorities who have found it difficult to trace the applicants since they are from the nomadic Penan tribe, for instance.

Most of the marriages, he said, were formalised only by longhouse chiefs with longhouse residents as witnesses, without official registration with the National Registration Department, resulting in children who are "stateless" despite being born in Sarawak.

"So I agree with the Sarawak state minister’s call for the state to be granted autonomy to resolve the issue of statelessness, particularly among children.

“Give the (powers) to Sarawak to solve these citizenship issues swiftly so that they (children) are not deprived of their right to healthcare and education,” he said.

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