Government won't recognise dual citizenship for children born overseas after turning 18

16 Dec 2023 09:52am
Saifuddin when met at Papar on Friday. (SINAR PHOTO)
Saifuddin when met at Papar on Friday. (SINAR PHOTO)

PAPAR - The government maintains its stance of not recognising dual citizenship for individuals born abroad after the age of 18, despite the amendment to Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution being approved by the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail clarified the situation regarding the citizenship of children born outside the country from the marriage of a Malaysian woman and a foreign man who can choose citizenship after turning 18.

He said currently, when the Malaysian wife and foreigner husband has a child born outside the country, the child's citizenship follows the father according to the current citizenship laws.

However, now with the amendments to the law, the child born overseas will automatically obtain Malaysian citizenship too.

"The child automatically becomes a citizen of the father, who is an Australian citizen, while also following the mother, who is a Malaysian citizen. Hence, the child has dual citizenship," he said after officiating the Baitul Mahabbah Papar in Kimanis on Friday.

Since the current laws do not recognise dual citizenship, Saifuddin said the child will then need to decide on whether they want to become the citizen of Malaysia or as per the father's country.

"Our proposal is at the age of 18, as voting is also at the age of 18. The definition of a child under the Child Act is also under the age of 18. We want to standardise this.

"When the child reaches the age of 18, that is the age at which the child has the right to decide whether to become a citizen of the father, who is an Australian citizen for example, or a Malaysian citizen according to the mother.

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"So, starting from the age of 18, the child can make a choice, and they must inform us that they will choose one. We do this because our laws do not recognize dual citizenship," he said.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers is currently drafting proposed amendments to the Federal Constitution regarding the citizenship rights of children born abroad as a result of the marriage of a Malaysian woman to a foreign spouse, where Saifuddin stated that it would amend Article 14(1)(b) to include the word ‘mother’, to enable the child's citizenship to be obtained by force of law.