Make stateless children abandoned in country citizens, says Chang

Irene Chang

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SIBU, Nov 20: Undocumented children born in hospitals in the country and adopted by Malaysian parents should be made citizens, says Bukit Assek incumbent Irene Chang.

“I highly laud the most recent Federal Court judgment, in which a stateless child born and found abandoned in Malaysia and subsequently adopted by Malaysian parents is effectively a Malaysian citizen,” Chang said in a statement.

The Federal Court had on Nov 19 granted a scholarship to a 17-year-old teenager who was born in a hospital in Kuala Lumpur to an unknown mother and was adopted by a Malaysian couple.

Chang said based on this case, it will resolve the issue that all stateless children born, abandoned and subsequently and legally adopted in Malaysia are to be recognised by the government as Malaysian citizens, especially for cases that have been pending for years at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

It is imperative for the Malaysian government to realise that such children are born and abandoned in the country through no fault of their own, and should not be punished for the decisions of their parents, she added.

With this case, she wants the Federal government to now abide by Section 19B of Part III of the Federal Constitution and unless a contrary is shown, must register all children found abandoned in Malaysia and subsequently adopted by Malaysian parents as a Malaysian citizen (Section 19B of Part III of the Federal Constitution states that a child found exposed shall be presumed to have been born to a mother who is a permanent resident).

Chang also urged the Federal government to expedite all the citizenship cases currently pending at the Ministry of Home Affairs, whereby some applicants have been waiting for years for an outcome to their citizenship application.

“It is unacceptable that after so many years the status of the cases would still be ‘in process’ whenever we followed up with the Ministry. I also hope that all Malaysian nationality laws in granting citizenship to children will be carefully reviewed and reformed so as to reduce the number of our stateless children in the country and to prevent such children from experiencing a bleak future in limbo,” she added. — DayakDaily