Amend Constitution to resolve child citizenship issue

 KUALA LUMPUR: The government should not just withdraw its appeal against a High Court ruling on the citizenship of children born abroad to Malaysian mothers, but should go further and amend the Federal Constitution to make it binding law, says a DAP MP.

Ramkarpal Singh (PH-Bukit Gelugor) said withdrawing the appeal and letting the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision stand would mean the issue could still arise in the future as the ruling was not binding on other high courts of concurrent jurisdiction.

“This means that other high courts can make different interpretations in the future and revert to previous stands, where citizenship is given only to the offspring of children born abroad to a Malaysian father, but not Malaysian mothers.

“I want to propose that the Federal Constitution be amended. If we can remove the ambiguity related to the word ‘father’, then this problem will not happen again.

“I urge the government to make this amendment. I’m confident that all MPs, especially those in the opposition, will support this amendment,” he said while debating the King’s speech in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Earlier this month, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Akhtar Tahir held that mothers are entitled to confer citizenship by operation of law in all processes, just like fathers.

Akhtar, who delivered his verdict through a remote proceeding, said the word “father” in the Second Schedule of the Constitution must mean and include mothers.

However, Attorney-General Idrus Harun told FMT last week that a notice of appeal had been filed against the decision.

Several MPs, including those from government, have urged the AG to withdraw the appeal.


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