Rapper Nabilah Hani Azali, also known as Loca B, yesterday filmed herself breaking down over her struggle in trying to obtain citizenship for her United Kingdom-born son under Malaysia’s hotly discussed gender-discriminating laws.
Weeks after the government announced that it was challenging the high court’s ruling allowing Malaysian mothers rights to confer citizenship, the 29-year-old rapper known for hits like Gila (Crazy), poured out in an Instagram video over fears of losing her son after years of failing to obtain citizenship for him. Her application with the National Registration Department, or JPN, has been stalled for another two years due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions, she said.
“I have not broken down like this in so long about the issues surrounding his citizenship,” she began in the clip uploaded to her Kuning.langsat Instagram account yesterday. She feels like it would be “almost impossible” for Yusuf to become a Malaysian citizen once he turns seven.
“I’m just worried about his future in this country… When he was a baby, I should have had that right to transfer my citizenship to my children,” she added.
Malaysia only allows fathers the right to confer citizenship to their children who were born overseas, something that the high court deemed as discriminatory in its Sep. 9 ruling, stating that the law should also apply to Malaysian mothers. Nabilah has been trying to register her son Yusuf Alexander as a Malaysian ever since he was born six years ago, while she was with her former husband. The Dendam Wanita rapper married fellow musician Muhammad Azree, aka Tuju, last year and gave birth to her second son Aiko Bintang in November.
In the two-minute video, Nabilah pointed out how the government was being unfair towards Malaysian women, mentioning Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“If men can [automatically pass on citizenship], why can’t women? We live in a country where the government likes to discriminate against women,” she said, later adding: “The government is OK with submitting the appeal to prevent my rights as a woman in this country.”
Nabilah has a few more years to obtain citizenship for her son. Otherwise, he may be given permanent resident status when he turns 12.