Hamzah: Citizenship for children born abroad to Malaysian mums not automatic

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The acquisition of Malaysian citizenship for children under-21 born overseas to Malaysian mums with a non-citizen father is not automatic, Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin said.

He added that the consideration of applications for citizenship under Article 15 (2) of the Federal Constitution also takes into account the government’s policy of not recognising dual citizenship.

“Each citizenship application received by the ministry will be carefully processed on a case-by-case basis to ensure that each application meets the conditions set out in Part III of the Federal Constitution, Citizenship Rules 1964,” Hamzah said.

He said that it is subject to compliance also with other relevant legislation in force, such as marriage registration, the legal status of the child and immigration regulations.

Hamzah was responding through a written parliamentary reply to Merbok MP Nor Azrina Surip’s inquiry on why the applications were routinely rejected by the ministry.

“Applications for citizenship are submitted separately with varying content of information and supporting documents,” the Perikatan Nasional secretary-general said.

“So the results of assessment and consideration also vary according to the needs, evidence, and facts of the case based on the information provided.

“Please be reminded that the conditions stipulated in the Federal Constitution only qualify applications to be submitted but do not guarantee that the application will be approved.”

Hamzah further emphasised that the conferment of Malaysian citizenship is the highest award and the exclusive right of the federal government, which is not offered and given arbitrarily.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court on September 9 ruled on the automatic granting of citizenship rights to children born abroad to Malaysian mothers married to foreigners.

High Court judge Akhtar Tahir, who made the decision in his judgment, said the word “father” in the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution must mean and include the mother.

However, Putrajaya filed an appeal four days ago at the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s landmark ruling.

On September 15, the Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Mohd Harun said that the procedures in applying for citizenship for children born abroad to Malaysian women married to foreigners must be the same as those born abroad to foreigners married to Malaysian men. – TMI