Earlier this month, Malaysian mothers married to foreign spouses breathed a sigh of relief when the Kuala Lumpur high court ruled that they could automatically pass citizenship to their children. That victory is now hanging by a thread.
The government is moving forward with its appeal against the ruling despite thousands petitioning for the application to be withdrawn. The high court is scheduled to hear the government’s appeal on Nov. 15, two months after it gave its ruling on Sep. 9.
“What the court was endeavouring to do was applying the existing law and policy already in force in a manner which will find a remedy to the grievance of the plaintiffs,” Judge Akhtar Tahir told reporters yesterday.
“The courts are surely empowered to do this,” he added.
Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin earlier backed the government’s application to appeal against the ruling, indicating that changes to Article 24 of the Federal Constitution would lead to a surge in dual citizenships. That statement was rubbished by advocacy group Family Frontiers, who first brought the matter to court, saying that Hamzah was making excuses to treat women as “second-class” citizens. The law only applies to overseas Malaysian fathers.