KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 – Malaysia told the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC) that it believes in protecting the right of women and girls, despite arguing against the right of Malaysian mothers to pass on citizenship to their children born abroad.
The Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the UN in Geneva said that Malaysia has pledged its commitment during the 50th session of the HRC to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
“Malaysia believes that the right of women and girls must always be promoted and protected to enable them develop their full potential,” it said on its Twitter account last June 20.
Malay Mail reported Wednesday that in the government’s appeal against a High Court decision that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers with foreign husbands be conferred Malaysian citizenship automatically, the Attorney-General’s Chambers argued that a 2001 amendment to the Federal Constitution prohibiting gender discrimination in the country’s law is not valid.
The senior federal counsel reportedly said that Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution could not be amended by Parliament as that provision is a “basic structure” of the constitution that cannot be amended.
Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution prohibits discrimination against citizens on the basis of religion, race, descent, place of birth, or gender.
On Twitter, Family Frontiers, an organisation at the forefront of the challenge to get equal citizenship rights for children born to Malaysian mothers and foreign fathers, slammed the government’s remarks at the UN.
“Not allowing mothers to confer their citizenship to their overseas-born children and the @AGCPutrajaya saying that the 2001 constitutional amendment to stop gender discrimination is invalid, clearly proves otherwise,” the NGO said on Twitter.
“Does Malaysia truly care and commit to protecting its women?”