Azalina criticises government’s decision to appeal citizenship ruling

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Government urged to be fair to both gender on citizenship issue.

Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) has questioned the government’s plan to apply for a stay of execution on the High Court’s recent ruling which allows Malaysian mothers to confer citizenship to their children born abroad.

If the government is sincere in its intention to ensure gender equality in the country, Azalina said both men and women should have equal rights on the matter.

“Recently, the Sultan of Johor himself has voiced support for citizenship rights be given to mothers and their children, but the government wants to appeal.

“I’m a lawyer and the Speaker (Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun) is also a lawyer. I’m confused,” she said during her speech on the 12th Malaysia Plan in Parliament on Wednesday (Sept 29).

On Sept 9, the High Court ruled that Malaysian women have the same right as Malaysian men to confer automatic citizenship on their overseas-born children.

However, an appeal was filed by the government on Sept 14.

“Until today, I don’t understand the reason for this (the appeal). I don’t know what kind of loss this will bring (to the government).

“If we want to be fair, let’s be fair to all. If mothers can’t get (the right) then fathers should not get it too. Why can the fathers be allowed to do this, but the same favour is not returned to mothers?

“I don’t understand this. Do the women in this country have more flaws than the men?” Azalina said.

Former deputy Dewan Rakyat speaker Nga Kor Ming (PH-Teluk Intan) then interjected to express support for Azalina’s view while urging the government to immediately retract the appeal.

“Thank you. I also support that you be made the third deputy speaker (for Dewan Rakyat),” Azalina said in jest in response to Nga.

Nga is among those tipped to be appointed to fill the vacated deputy speaker post in the next Parliament meeting in October.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin previously stated that the government intended to solve the issue by amending the Constitution to allow Malaysian mothers the right to confer automatic citizenship on their children born outside Malaysia.