Opposition wants constitutional amendment to citizenship laws to be reviewed by PSSC

KUALA LUMPUR: The amendment Bill to the Federal Constitution on citizenship laws should be reviewed by the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) following objection by the Opposition, says Perikatan Nasional chief whip Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan.

According to Takiyuddin, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin had earlier told Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail to let the PSSC review the proposed amendment Bill to the Federal Constitution on citizenship laws.

"Why not let’s hold on to give ample time to everyone, all stakeholders, including NGOs, to come up with the proposal and we can once and for all, complete the constitutional amendment," said Takiyuddin.

"That was the suggestion by the Opposition leader to the Home Minister earlier," he added.

Takiyuddin also questioned Saifuddin on the government’s decision to drop several proposed amendments, despite having briefed MPs and stakeholders over the matter in the earlier months.

"It could be pressure from the Cabinet or certain quarters in the government itself," said Takiyuddin during a press conference in Parliament on Monday (March 25).

Takiyuddin disagreed with the government’s decision to drop two proposed amendments to the citizenship law.

But, he stopped short at elaborating, saying that the matter will be discussed at length during debates in the coming days.

Earlier in his press conference, Takiyuddin questioned Saifuddin whether the proposed amendment Bill had received the Conference of Rulers’ consent before it was tabled in Parliament for first reading.

Takiyuddin cited Saifuddin who said on Sunday (March 24) that the proposed amendment bill was presented to His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, King of Malaysia, in a recent pre-Cabinet meeting.

According to Takiyuddin, Clause 5 of Article 159 in the Federal Constitution stated that a bill to amend the constitution shall not be passed without the consent of the Conference of Rulers.

"The Conference of Rulers consists of the nine Malay rulers, governors and among others.

"Did the government fulfil the requirements of Article 159 to obtain the consent of the Rulers’ Conference?" questioned Takiyuddin.

Last Friday (March 22), Saifuddin said Putrajaya decided to drop two proposed amendments involving Article 19B and Section 1(e) Part 2 of Schedule 2 of the Federal Constitution.

These amendments would have deprived foundlings and stateless children of automatic citizenship and would see them needing to register for it instead.

Section 19B, Part III provides that foundlings are given automatic citizenship by operation of law, giving them the benefit of doubt as to the date and place of their birth, as the status of their biological parents is unknown and unable to be proven.

Section 1(e), Part II states that citizenship is given to vulnerable and affected people, such as children born out of wedlock, adopted and abandoned stateless children, and indigenous communities.

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