20 September 2022
Press statement by Wanita MCA National Chairperson Datuk Heng Seai Kie
Present the best Malaysia Day gift to kids born overseas to Malaysian moms: Amendments to Federal Constitution need bipartisan support
Wanita MCA fully supports the Private Member’s Bill calling for Constitutional amendments to allow citizenship to children born overseas to Malaysian mothers married to non-Malaysian spouses, filed by Pengerang MP Dato’ Seri Azalina Othman and four Opposition MPs.
This motion is in line with our party’s stand which has consistently called for unanimous backing irrespective of political affiliation for amendments to the Federal Constitution. Citizenship rights and gender equality are universal issues and the disadvantages that stem from gender discrimination especially against innocent children through no fault of theirs are totally unrelated to political alignment and must be remedied.
Our party has been pushing for the changes to the Federal Constitution, ie to insert the word “or mother” after the word “father” or “parents” in Clauses (1)(b) and (1)(c) to Part II of the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution. This is to prevent all doubts and to ensure clarity in lexicon that both Malaysian fathers and mothers enjoy equal rights to bestow citizenship to their offsprings delivered overseas.
The rights of Malaysian mothers to confer citizenship to their infants born overseas is a matter close to the hearts of not only Wanita MCA members but all MCA members. We totally empathise with the anxieties and frustrations that Malaysian mothers and their non-Malaysian children who are trapped in this lacuna have to endure in their daily lives and want this issue to be resolved.
In the 2-1 majority decision by the Court of Appeal, the judges said it was up to Parliament, not the court, to rewrite the Constitution. It is thus more expedient than ever that the best 59th Malaysia Day gift to Malaysian mothers and their non-citizen children would be enable these amendment* to the Federal Constitution.
We also assert that if and once these provisions in the Federal Constitution have been revised, all government authorities be it the National Registration Department and all Malaysian foreign missions abroad must accept such registrations by Malaysian mothers. These government authorities must not lay out any bureaucratic red tape to stifle mother’s bid to hand over citizenship to her children.
Besides Azalina Othman, the four Opposition MPs who have likewise tabled a Private Member’s Bill are Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil, Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh and Lanang MP Alice Lau.