Not Malaysian? You don’t exist, MP says over citizenship issue
SHAH ALAM – As a member of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, Malaysia should take a step back and analyse what is happening following the Appeal Court’s ruling that children born abroad to Malaysian mothers married to foreigners are not legally entitled to Malaysian citizenship.
Batu Kawan MP Kasthiruraani Patto said for the people who were not being called Malaysians, the hard truth was that it was the same as not existing as an individual and this also impacted the future of these Malaysian women’s children born overseas.
“I think a country who has made it to the UN Rights council has a greater obligation to prove their worth of being a member of the council, instead of saying things like we wanted to be mediators between countries to speak about human rights violation, look at what happened in your backyard.
“Unfortunately in Malaysia, not being called a Malaysian is almost akin to not existing at all and that is a sad, hard truth.
“After the ruling, I just looked at the faces of these children and I was shattered because what have we done to their future and why haven’t we moved fast enough to settle this issue,” she said during Sinar Daily’s Wacana English Edition on Aug 12.
The show went live at Kompleks Karangkraf, here, yesterday also featured other panellists, which include Former Home Minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, Family Frontiers President Suri Kempe and impacted mother Rachel Ng.
The panellists discussed further the issue of sexist citizenship in the country.
It was reported that only 19 out of 3407 applications for citizenship had been approved in the country since 2018.
With the number of applications received, it would take decades at this rate, or to be exact 681 years, for the Home Ministry in Putrajaya to approve all these applications.
Malaysia was also among the 25 countries that discriminate against mothers in their ability to confer nationality on their children including The Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Brunei, Burundi, Eswatini, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Togo and United Arab Emirates.
Many have questioned why the sexist citizenship law still exists in the nation despite Malaysia being a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council on October 14, 2021, for the 2022 - 2024 term.
On Aug 5, the Court of Appeal in a 2-1 majority decision had ruled that children born abroad to Malaysian mothers married to foreigners are not legally entitled to Malaysian citizenship.
In September 2021, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that these children were entitled to Malaysian citizenship but the government appealed the decision.