Malaysian politician calls out Barisan Nasional for offering citizenship for foreign-born kids in its GE15 manifesto while fighting against it in court 

Picture courtesy of Muda/Aizzat Nordin
Picture courtesy of Muda/Aizzat Nordin

Barisan Nasional was deceitful in offering automatic citizenship to children born overseas to Malaysian women with foreign spouses because it was the government that was vigorously opposing this in court, Muda president, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman said last night.

The former minister criticised BN for including the contentious topic in its 15th general election manifesto, saying that if the BN government hadn’t previously appealed the High Court decision upholding this right, the issue would have been irrelevant.

Syed Saddiq claimed that because the BN manifesto pledges were “near to [his] heart,” he felt compelled to react to them.

“Do you want to know why this issue reached the Federal Court? Because at that time, the government itself appealed this case until Malaysian children born to Malaysian women were denied citizenship rights.

“And at that time, the prime minister was an Umno-BN man himself! If the Cabinet had not continued the appeal for this issue, these children would have already received their citizenships,” he said, referring to caretaker prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

According to Syed Saddiq, the BN administration, which was in power at the time, simply could have spared the families going through the anguish and stress of trying to obtain citizenship for their kids; some of these cases are still open decades later.

He continued by criticising the coalition for having the audacity to now claim it would stand up for the same Malaysian women it had forced to regularly travel to the courts and National Registration Department in order to demand the same rights as Malaysian men.

“Are we willing to gamble the fate of these Malaysian children in their hands again?” MalayMail reported Syed Saddiq as saying

BN pledged, among other things, to enact the necessary legal changes to provide Malaysian women with the same automatic right to bestow citizenship to their offspring as Malaysian men, according to the manifesto that BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi unveiled on Monday.

In his address, Ahmad Zahid stated that BN no longer wanted persons with diverse ethnic or religious identities or offspring of mixed marriages to be denied the opportunity to call Malaysia their home.

The High Court ruled in a landmark judgement on Sep. 9, 2021, that children born abroad to Malaysian mothers are legally entitled to citizenship in Malaysia and commanded the government to grant these children citizenship documents.

Despite requests that it uphold the judgement, the government filed an appeal. As a result, the Court of Appeal reversed the decision on Aug. 5 of this year, thus depriving Malaysian women the same automatic rights that Malaysian men possessed.

The case’s plaintiffs then filed an appeal with the Federal Court, which has scheduled Dec. 14 for the application for leave to appeal hearing.

Other stories to check out: 

Malaysia’s GE15 guide: The do’s and don’ts of voting

Airlines offer cheaper airfares for domestic flights during Malaysia’s GE15 

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