By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Sept 26: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Women’s chief Kho Teck Wan has called on lawmakers to amend the citizenship law so that every child born in the country will be granted automatic citizenship.
She related a case whereby a Sarawak-born teenage boy adopted by Malaysians had failed in his bid to be recognised as a Malaysian citizen recently.
“I would like to urge our lawmakers to amend the citizenship law so it is not subjective but clear and direct that every child born in this country is granted automatic citizenship.
“In the case of the Sarawak born teenager or any case where a child is born with foreign mother, being stateless means he or she is unable to travel to obtain citizenship elsewhere as well.
“Many waited for years to obtain citizenship, while others failed just like teenager L.
“They are literally stuck in Malaysia while being denied all citizenship rights,” she said in a statement.
To recap, a High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled on September 24 that teenage L’s adoption by a Malaysian couple does not mean that he would be automatically granted citizenship.
According to media reports, L was born in Sarawak in 2002 to unknown biological parents while he was issued a red-coloured birth certificate in 2017 by the Regional Registrar of Birth and Deaths Sarawak as a “non-citizen”.
The teenager was lawfully adopted in 2018 by his Malaysian parents in Sarawak under a state law known as the Sarawak Adoption Ordinance.
It was reported that a provision in the Sarawak adoption law said the rights a child adopted in Sarawak would get upon adoption does not include taking on the adoptive parents’ citizenship status.
Kho added that she was disappointed to learn that a Sarawak born teenager has failed in his bid to be granted Malaysian citizenship noting that adoption and citizenship laws in Malaysia are complex and very restrictive.
“Therefore, I urge our lawmaker to amend the law so it is clear and direct in granting automatic citizenship to children born in Malaysia.
“After all, the circumstances of how a baby arrives in this world is beyond his or her control.
“I hope our legal system focus on the wellbeing and future of the stateless individual instead of factors beyond his or her control,” she said.—DayakDaily