KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 14): Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said today that he wants to resolve the citizenship issue faced by the overseas-born children of Malaysian mothers.
However, the number of people who are affected by the matter remains low, he said on Radio Television Malaysia’s (RTM) Naratif Khas programme tonight.
“I believe this is one of my early areas of focus once the briefing sessions have ended, to persevere and bring forward a recommendation for a way out so that this issue does not happen again,” he said.
On the one hand, he said that the law is clear: dual citizenship is not recognised in Malaysia and citizenship is not automatically granted to the overseas-born children of Malaysian mothers but must be requested.
On the other hand, the broader prism of humanity must also be considered, he added.
He then said any constitutional amendment on citizenship matters requires assent from the Conference of Rulers in line with the Federal Constitution’s Article 159(5).
Saifuddin Nasution also touched on the stateless in East Malaysia, saying that the issue has existed for a long time but has yet to be solved.
This is despite many initiatives that aimed to tackle the issue, which he said shows that it required further examination.
“If we do not sort it out within the perspective and scope of the law, it has the potential of becoming a bigger problem with no solution,” he said.
He also expressed a desire to examine the problem in more detail so that he can come up with a solution for it as quickly as possible.
Although Malaysian men have the automatic right to confer citizenship to their children born abroad through the simple process of registration under Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution, Malaysian women who give birth abroad must apply for Malaysian citizenship under Article 15(2) of the Federal Constitution.
It is then up to the Malaysian government to decide whether to register any person ― aged below 21 and who has at least one Malaysian parent ― as a Malaysian citizen under Article 15(2).
Others born in the country and deemed stateless are told they can apply for citizenship using a special pathway under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution which provides for the federal government’s special powers, where it can register anyone below the age of 21 as citizen in “special circumstances as it thinks fit”.
However, this is a race against time due to the deadline being fixed at 21 years of age. – Malay Mail