Malaysian mothers today expressed their deep disappointment at the Malaysian government’s decision to appeal against a landmark court ruling which finally recognised their children born abroad as Malaysian citizens too, and launched an online signature drive to stop the appeal.
Family Frontiers, which had together with six Malaysian mothers won the lawsuit on Thursday last week, said it was “appalling” that the government had made the move to appeal the court decision.
The High Court in Kuala Lumpur had affirmed Malaysian women’s equal rights under the Federal Constitution — which only Malaysian men have been enjoying for decades — to confer citizenship automatically on their children born overseas to foreign spouses.
Family Frontiers said it was shocked at the Malaysian government’s decision to appeal the court decision, as three federal ministers including the de facto law minister had openly supported the same historic court decision.
Family Frontiers said it sees the move to appeal “as a betrayal of the rights that are long overdue to Malaysian women”.
“The Government had an opportunity to embrace the High Court’s decision and move the needle towards greater justice and equality for its women citizens.
“Instead, the Government has chosen to perpetuate this gross injustice that has plagued Malaysia since independence, the weight of which Malaysian women have borne for 64 long years,” the group said in a statement today following news of the government’s appeal.
Lauding the High Court’s decision just five days ago as having lifted the anxiety that had plagued Malaysian mothers, Family Frontiers however said that justice has now effectively been denied with the government’s move to appeal.
“The government, by appealing against this decision, has delayed justice not just to Malaysian women, but their children and their extended families. Justice delayed is justice denied,” it said.
Family Frontiers today reminded the government that Malaysian women and mothers are voters, and said it would not hesitate to mobilise them around this issue and to exercise their right to vote in the next election for representatives who are committed to forming a government that affirms the right of women to equality and to be free from gender discrimination.
“The government’s action in appealing against the decision sends out a clear message that they are in favour of the continued discrimination and marginalisation of Malaysian mothers. We will not tolerate an administration that continues to defend archaic and sexist laws.
“We strongly urge the Government of Malaysia, Minister of Home Affairs and the Director-General of the Department of National Registration to withdraw their Notice of Appeal immediately and not perpetuate such injustice against Malaysian women,” it added.
“We further call on Malaysians, both in the country and abroad, to sign this petition calling on the Government to withdraw its appeal against women’s equal right to citizenship: https://bit.ly/tarikbalikrayuan,” it said. – MMO