PKR man hopes unity govt will consider constitutional amendments to grant citizenship to stateless children

Abun Sui Anyit

KUCHING, Feb 21: The unity government should also consider making appropriate constitutional amendments to grant citizenship to stateless children who are born in Malaysia.

Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy chairman Abun Sui Anyit made this suggestion in applauding the Cabinet’s decision to amend the Federal Constitution to enable automatic Malaysian citizenship to children born overseas to Malaysian mothers.

He hoped the measure can be extended to other constitutional amendments where necessary so that children who are born in the country to either a Malaysian father or mother but remain stateless will not be restricted by an ordinary Act that would go beyond the power or the law.

“Compared to the new amendment, overseas-born children of Malaysian mothers still have a country to go to as they can get citizenship of their father’s country.

“But Sarawak-born children whose citizenship status is yet to be determined have nowhere else to go,” he said in a statement today.

Statelessness is a long-standing issue in Malaysia where many Malaysian-born children are denied nationality for various reasons including irregularity of marriage that resulted in unregistered births, inconsistency of procedures at National Registration Department (NRD) at the district and state level as well as laws referred to the subject matter such as Adoption Act 1952, according to Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

“Kudos to the unity government for having the political will to grant citizenship to Malaysians whose status has not yet been determined with the establishment of the Special Committee for Citizenship issue,” Abun Sui added.

He also hoped that the amendments to the Federal Constitution to enable overseas-born children to Malaysian women to gain automatic Malaysian citizenship by operation of law, without having to apply to be Malaysian citizenship, will have the support of two-third of the Dewan Rakyat before being brought to the Senate.

On Saturday (Feb 18), Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution and Law and Institutional Reform Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, in a joint statement, said the Constitution (Amendment) 2023 is expected to be tabled in Parliament in the current session after fulfilling legal requirements.

The proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution on this matter is to replace the word ‘whose father’ in Part I and Part II of the Second Schedule with the words ‘at least one of the parents’ to enable Malaysian mothers to receive their just rights according to the Federal Constitution. — DayakDaily