Government facing growing internal flak for appealing citizenship ruling

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Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government is facing growing internal criticism over its decision to appeal a court ruling which struck out discriminatory practices against Malaysian mothers with overseas-born children.

MIC is the latest to join the chorus of criticism which called the appeal “baseless”.

MIC vice-president C Sivaraajh noted that between 2013 and 2018, some 4,959 citizenship applications were made for overseas-born children by Malaysian mothers and their foreign spouses but only 142 were approved.

“The High Court’s Sept 9 ruling that children born to Malaysian mothers and their foreign spouse abroad have a right to automatic Malaysian citizenship gave hope to almost 5,000 existing applicants.

Rohaizat Md Darus/The Star

“Many of them are mothers who want to raise their children in Malaysia due to various factors,” Sivaraajh said in a statement.

Previously, this right was only granted to children born overseas to Malaysian fathers and their foreign spouses.

“The government’s move to appeal this meaningful decision is backward and gives a picture that the government is not committed to empowering the rights of women,” he said.

Sivaraajh urged the government to urgently reconsider the appeal.

Last week, MCA had also slammed the appeal and questioned why the government was trying to maintain gender discrimination.

Several ministers have also spoken out against the appeal, with Communication and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa suggesting that the matter should be brought to the cabinet for a decision.

The matter falls under the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry, which is headed by Bersatu secretary-general Hamzah Zainuddin.

Government backbenchers and opposition MPs have also urged Ismail Sabri to rein in the Home Ministry.

MPs from Umno, Bersatu, GPS, PAS, PKR, DAP, Amanah, Upko, Pejuang, Warisan and Muda have called on the government to drop the appeal and offered their support to amend the Federal Constitution to ensure equal citizenship rule for both mothers and fathers.

A group of mothers who had challenged the discriminatory citizenship rule said they were appalled by the appeal.

They said the deprivation of citizenship for their children meant that they suffered unequal access to basic rights such as education and healthcare. – Malaysiakini