Government mulls amending law on conferring Malaysian citizenship

Hannah Yeoh (Bernama)

Hannah Yeoh (Bernama)

Petaling Jaya: Malaysia is looking at amending Article 14 of the Federal Constitution to allow Malaysian mothers to pass on automatically their citizenship to their children born overseas.

Under the current law, only Malaysian fathers are allowed to obtain automatically the Malaysian citizenship for their children born overseas whereas mothers have to submit applications.

“Today, we are living in 2019 and Malaysian men and women should be treated equally,” Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said.

“That’s why we have written to the Home Ministry and the Foreign Ministry to request for this amendment to be made because many families are affected by this law,” she said, quoted by the national news agency BERNAMA.

The three ministries have been holding meeting since April to discuss the issue.

“Thus far, the feedback has been positive,” she said after attending the Malaysian Citizenship Equality Campaign.

The campaign, organised by the Foreign Spouses Support Group, aimed at raising awareness of the effects of gender discrimination against women in the country.

The issue of citizenship was stressful, traumatising and causing problems in terms of children’s care including health and education, Yeoh said

She hoped that the proposed amendment to the Article 14 would receive support of many parties to provide more equitable opportunities for families and children in the country.

“We are seeking the statistics from the National Registration Department on number of applications received under this category and with this campaign I believe will fasten the speed (to amend) and we do hope that more lawmakers will be able to speak up on this,” she said.

“This is listed in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto to revisit laws that discriminate against women.”

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