Change of policy on citizenship for children born overseas, urged by the government

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PETALING JAYA: The Children’s Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has slammed Deputy Home Minister Ismail Mohamed Said for citing national security issues as to why automatic citizenship can not be granted to children born abroad to Malaysian women married to foreign spouses.

Noor Aziah Mohd Awal said the Deputy Minister’s statements were against the right of a woman to marry and start a family.

“I am quite disappointed with Parliament’s response. What protection concerns are they worried about? “Asked her.

Basically, they claim that a woman should not marry a foreigner because if she does, she needs to come home to give birth to ensure Malaysian citizenship is granted to her child.

“Clearly, this is sexism against women. Malaysian men with foreign wives, but not our daughters, are capable of passing citizenship on to their children. It is unreasonable,’ she responded.

Ismail told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that if a Malaysian woman married a foreigner, regardless of whether the marriage was proper and accepted, citizenship would not automatically be given to the child born abroad.

In response to a question posed by Sekijang MP Natrah Ismail, he said, “This is to avoid the child possessing dual citizenship, and in other countries the child’s citizenship will follow that of the father.”

Noor Aziah urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to consider filing an amendment to the Federal Constitution to allow Malaysian children to automatically become citizens, regardless of where they were born.

Co-founder Bina Ramanand of the Foreign Spouses Support Group (FSSG) clarified that the question posed by Natrah was actually based on a draft submitted by a group of Malaysian mothers who had been waiting for the citizenship of their children for years.

“They wanted to know why it takes Malaysian women so long to obtain citizenship for their children born overseas, when the process takes less than three months for Malaysian men.

FSSG Program Officer Melinda Anne Sharlini pointed out that Malaysia is one of the world’s 25 countries with no gender-equal rights to grant children citizenship.

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