MIRI, Sept 15: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) has expressed disappointment with the announcement by Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun that the government has filed appeal papers appealing against the High Court decision that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers and foreign fathers are automatically entitled to Malaysian citizenship.
On Sept 9, the High Court had ruled that Article 4(1) of the Federal Constitution together with the Second Schedule, Part II, Section 1(b), pertaining to citizenship rights, must be read in harmony with Article 8(2), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.
“The High Court Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir, commented strongly and succinctly that ‘The grievances of the plaintiffs are real; the discrimination is apparent’ and thus decided that the word ‘father’ must therefore be read to include mothers and that their children are also entitled to citizenship by operation of law,” said SUPP Secretary-General Datuk Sebastian Ting on Wednesday.
“This decision was considered a landmark decision and has been well received and applauded by most Malaysians and indeed many NGOS had openly opined that this decision would see more fairness and justice towards and our women, especially mothers who have had children born outside our country,” he pointed.
He added that the decision to appeal as announced by Idrus came as a surprise and a shock to many, and has created a ripple of dismay, frustration and anger among women and numerous NGOs.
“SUPP is in full support of the call made by Sarawak Women For Women Society (SWWS) on the Government to promptly withdraw its appeal against the High Court decision that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers are entitled to citizenship by operation of law,” he explained.
“On this, we would like to refer to the thoughts of the Minster of Women, Family and Community Development Rina Harun, who had earlier publicly welcomed the court decision, describing it as a new ray of hope for Malaysian women who said the decision is PN government’s commitment to creating equality for women,” he said.
“We would like to appeal to our Prime Minister Datuk Sri Ismail Sabri for his urgent intervention and immediately instruct the Attorney General to withdraw the aforesaid appeal and at the same time, instruct the Home Ministry to respect and implement the High Court’s decision,” he added.
Meanwhile, Family Frontiers, a non-governmental organisation, has launched an online petition and within 24 hours, more than ten thousand signatures were collected urging the Federal government to drop the appeal.
“We must continue to stress and reiterate that Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land and each of its Articles and Clauses cannot be interpreted in isolation especially when such interpretation does not find logic, justice, fairness, equality or simply lack of ordinary common sense,” he said. — DayakDaily