Azalina: Unfair to grant automatic citizenship only to fathers

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It is unfair that only Malaysian fathers can get citizenship for their children who are born overseas, said former law minister Azalina Othman Said.

Speaking at a webinar this morning, the Pengerang MP said to this day she cannot understand the logic of that law where Malaysian mothers married to foreign spouses can’t give the same to their children.

“My personal view, if you look at citizenship, only (Malaysian) husbands are allowed but not (Malaysian) wives, I think it is not fair.

“There is no difference. I am not really talking about real equality, but this is about justice.

“You have to be fair. You cannot segregate and discriminate.

“It’s like saying women got no brain when they decide to marry a foreigner and have children.

TMI

“Come on. It’s 2021. Personally, I just don’t understand the whole logic behind it,” she said.

Azalina was speaking at a webinar titled “A Roadmap for Parliamentary Reform For and Beyond the Pandemic” organised by Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia, where she was asked for her views on the citizenship issue.

For the record, the Federal Constitution only grants fathers to pass down citizenship to children born overseas.

Adding further, Azalina said she also believes that it is possible to change the provision in the Parliament through bipartisan votes.

This is so that a motion to amend the Federal Constitution provision on the subject can be passed with a two-thirds majority.

Last year, a group of women filed a constitutional challenge, seeking a declaration that Malaysian women married to foreign spouses can automatically get citizenship for their children who are born overseas.

In the originating summons, the plaintiffs sought a declaration that Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution read with the Second Schedule, Part II, sections 1(b) and 1(c) were discriminatory and violated Article 8.

Article 14(1)(b) read together with Second Schedule, Part II, sections 1(b) and 1(c) only grant fathers to pass down citizenship to children born overseas.

Article 8 prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.

The government had attempted to get the lawsuit struck out, but their application was dismissed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in May.

Later in June, the then home minister Hamzah Zainuddin in his affidavit-in-reply said that the provision in the Federal Constitution was not discriminatory. – Malaysiakini