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    PM: Changes to citizenship law for kids born overseas to be tabled in September


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    KUALA LUMPUR – In September, amendments to the law will be presented to Parliament in order to address the citizenship issue of children born to Malaysian mothers abroad, according to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. The Prime Minister announced during the opening of the International Malaysia Law Conference on Monday (July 10), “We will be proposing amendments to the Federal Constitution to replace the term ‘whose father’ in Part I and Part II of the Second Schedule with the phrase ‘at least one of the parents’.” He also mentioned that the matter would need consent from the Conference of Rulers, which is required for any constitutional amendments to be made.

    The Prime Minister expressed his confidence that the proposal would receive support and be completed by this month. He stated, “We will then table it during the Parliament session in September.” Earlier in the conference, Karen Cheah, the president of the Malaysian Bar, urged the government to speed up the amendment process to resolve the issue of stateless children. Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin Tuanku Muhriz, the founding president of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), also commended the government’s effort to address the issue but expressed caution regarding the proposed amendment.

    He said, “My colleagues and I who advocate for children’s and refugee rights are delighted with the promised amendment that allows citizenship for children born overseas to Malaysian mothers married to non-Malaysian fathers. However, we were deeply disappointed with other amendments, particularly the removal of Section 1(e) in Part II of the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution, as it could worsen the issue of statelessness among children.” Tunku Zain expressed hope that there would be no further action in removing this provision due to pressure from various parties.

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    Earlier concerns were raised by several advocacy groups that the removal of Section 1(e) would result in a new group of stateless children being born in the country with unknown parents. This section presently grants automatic citizenship to foundlings, children without proof of parentage, and children born to stateless parents. Anwar clarified that the proposed amendments should not cause controversy as they aim to address the citizenship issue of children born specifically to a Malaysian parent.

    In March, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail revealed in Parliament that there were 688 citizenship applications from children born to Malaysian mothers abroad, with many more yet to submit their applications. Among the 150,000 citizenship applications received so far, the majority involve stateless children and children born out of wedlock.

    ALSO READ: Home Ministry: Nearly 700 citizenship applications received involving children born abroad to Malaysian mothers

    ALSO READ: Cabinet: Constitutional amendment to grant citizenship to children born overseas to Malaysian mums

    Credit: The Star : News Feed

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