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KUCHING, Sept 10: Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) today hailed the landmark ruling by the High Court on automatic citizenship for children born to Malaysian mothers abroad and called on the Federal government to act swiftly on the implementation of the decision.
SWWS, in a statement today, emphasised that the ruling provided the much needed clarification on the Malaysia Constitution which will bring justice to affected children and their mothers.
“It also reaffirms the country’s commitment to end gender discrimination.
“The ruling is consistent with two UN Convention, namely the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) which gives precedence to the bests interest of a child and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination to Women (CEDAW) which is reflected in the national law through Article 8,” the statement read.
SWWS called on the Federal government to support and heed this decision by swiftly instructing all relevant departments to implement the order so that relevant documents including identity cards can be issued to Malaysian citizens.
Before this ruling, SWWS explained that Malaysian mothers married to foreign spouses who had children born outside of the country were denied automatic rights to citizenship, unlike Malaysian men in a transnational marriage.
“This was because officers overseeing the applications in following the provision under Part II Section 1 (b) of the Constitution which stated ‘father’ and did not take into account the later insertion of Article 8 which stated there should be no gender discrimination.
“Now thanks to the wisdom of the court, it is clear that the Articles relating to citizenship need to be read in harmony with Article 8 so the intention of ending discrimination is enforced,” it said.
SWWS also applauded the supportive remarks of defacto Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah on the issue.
“Fatimah’s comments highlight the importance of this decision for children’s future as now they will have access to education and health facilities, while the Wan Junaidi’s stance is especially welcome as it indicates that the government has accepted the ruling and does not intend to make any further appeals.”
SWWS stressed that it is important to publicise this ruling so mothers are aware that they can reapply for their children’s Malaysian citizenship and the heartache they have experienced can be ended.
“SWWS salutes the brave mothers who took the matter to court so that their children could be treated fairly and to the NGO (non-governmental organisations) Family Frontiers who supported them in their journey through the courts.”
SWWS added that they are looking forward to the day when the proposed Gender Equality Act is tabled in Parliament to further strengthen women’s rights. — DayakDaily