Wanita MCA reiterates our call for the government to withdraw its appeal against a High Court decision upholding gender equality, and allowing Malaysian mothers married to foreigners to automatically confer citizenship on their infants born abroad.
The confirmation by deputy home minister Jonathan Yasin in the Dewan Rakyat on March 15, 2022 that the government will not withdraw its appeal is, to put it mildly, deeply disappointing and disturbing.
The government should take the initiative to advance gender equality, rather than obstruct or suppress it.
The High Court ruled in a landmark decision on 9 September last year that Article 8(2), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, also means that the term ‘father’ in the Federal Constitution’s Second Schedule, Part II, Section 1(b) must be read to include mothers and that their children are automatically entitled to citizenship.
The decision of the High Court is predicated on the Federal Constitution. Additionally, it is consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Malaysia ratified in 1995.
As we know, over 150 countries have amended their legislation to ensure that male and female citizens have the same right to confer nationality. Regrettably, Malaysia is one of 25 countries that have not amended our legislation to eliminate this shameful discrimination against women.
If the Home Ministry persists in appealing the High Court’s ruling, all of Malaysia’s initiatives and efforts toward gender equality would be rendered futile.
Wanita MCA is unwavering in our commitment to defend women’s rights and achieve gender equality between men and women.
The women’s wing of MCA hopes that the government will take public opinion into account.
Pay attention to the voice of the people and discontinue appealing and contesting the High Court’s judgement, and respect the court’s decision.
This will ensure that Malaysian mothers who give birth overseas receive equal treatment and that their children receive automatic citizenship, just as babies born to Malaysian fathers abroad do.
As soon as a Malaysian mother residing overseas registers the birth of her child with the Malaysian embassy/High Commission/consulate, that child is automatically entitled to Malaysian citizenship, which must be duly recorded and bestowed.
Heng Seai Kie is national chairperson of Wanita MCA.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Ova.