Ready to approach the King on sexist citizenship law, says Azalina 

28 Sep 2022 05:07pm
Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

SHAH ALAM - Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said is ready to head a delegation of lawmakers to Istana Negara to approach the King on the sexist citizenship bill to grant equal rights to both parents in regards to the nationality of their kids.

This follows after she made a proposal at the Dewan Rakyat and several other MPs to table a private member's bill to change the federal constitution.

Azalina said her campaign is centred on the simple reason that the law should be equal to all genders, calling the current constitutional provision stating that only children born overseas to a Malaysian father will be declared citizens "archaic."

“With all due respect, I think that is (absurd)," she was quoted at The Vibes.

“I think my select committee consisting of MPs from both sides of the divide, and some senators, are willing to speak to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Conference of Rulers to explain, not just from the perspective of politicians, but NGOs as well.

“With women making up about 50 per cent of our population, we (Malaysia) have to progress. We have to keep going forward,” she said in a podcast session titled The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Azalina, the former special law adviser to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob further said she had proposed the constitutional amendment for the bill on Sept 19 under 15 (1) Standing Order of the Dewan Rakyat.

Among other politicians who have submitted a notice to Parliament are Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil and Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh.
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“The government has to accept this private member’s bill and turn it into a government bill. It’s just a sentence in the constitution (that we are seeking to amend),” she said.

She also added that she is unsure as to why there has been a reluctance on the part of the government in pushing for the bill.

“I don’t know. I think it has to do with the fact it is something that has been going on for quite some time. I won’t call it (the current provision) draconian, but I think the thinking is a bit ancient,” she added.

Azalina said having a blanket provision specifically put into the constitution that usurps Malaysian mothers' rights to provide citizenship to their children born abroad means that even the court's hands are tied.

“Citizenship is an issue involving young women. They go abroad, study, and fall in love. Are you telling me they can only fall in love with Malaysians? That’s unfair.

“The government can do a lot of things regarding the whole standard operating procedure and administrative matters. But (women want) that entitlement, to know they can come back to their country and know they won’t be discriminated against just based on their gender.

“Many families out there may be in relationships with foreigners. I mean, come on, most of the politicians, they must have, too.

“At the end of the day, men have to say something, too. It cannot just be the women politicians,” she was further quoted at The Vibes.