PUTRAJAYA: Issues regarding citizenship of children born overseas to Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses is among the top agenda of newly-minted Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
During his maiden ministerial briefing, Saifuddin said he was briefed by the Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz on the matter.
“It will be in my top priorities that requires my deliberation and action in the ministry.
“We will scrutinise all aspects of it including the constitution, existing laws and also humanity,” Saifuddin said.
Previously, the Court of Appeal (COA) has allowed the government’s bid to overturn a landmark ruling which said that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses were entitled to Malaysian citizenship.
Prior to the landmark High Court decision last year, overseas children born to Malaysian fathers were allowed to apply for Malaysian citizenship, but this did not apply to Malaysian mothers.
Earlier, Saifuddin clocked in for official duties at the ministry at 9.28am here today.
He was welcomed by ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz and the Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani. NST
Grant citizenship to children with adoption orders – Yeoh
“I urge the government to immediately grant citizenship to adopted children who have obtained an adoption order from the court.
“The government should be grateful to the parents who adopted their children to realise the Keluarga Malaysia agenda,” said Yeoh in a statement today, adding that doing otherwise would prove the government to be hypocritical.
The Segambut MP said this “never-ending issue” was made more complex for those who have obtained an adoption order from the court under the Adoption Act 1952 but had citizenship applications rejected by the Home Ministry without reason.
“These parents go through a lot of stress and emotional pressure. They are unable to make short-term or long-term plans in the care of their adopted children,” she said.
Yeoh named several issues often faced by these families. Among them are:
- The adopted children lack access to education in government schools and government-owned maternal and children’s clinics – which forces them to turn to oft-expensive private healthcare.
They may not be able to go on holiday with their families abroad.
- They will have to pay foreign tourist rates to enter zoos, aquariums, or bird parks.
- They cannot open bank accounts and are unable to have their own insurance.
- They may also be barred from participating in any activities to represent Malaysia such as sports, leisure, and cultural events, among other barriers.
‘Granting citizenship only has benefits’
Two months ago, fellow DAP lawmaker Teo Nie Ching similarly proposed that the government grant citizenship to all stateless children whose father is Malaysian if they can provide DNA evidence.
The Home Ministry previously refused to accept such evidence.
Likewise, Teo said all stateless children who are legally adopted by their Malaysian parents should also be granted citizenship.
Teo had also cited the Federal Court’s landmark decision on Nov 19 last year which ruled that abandoned babies should be recognised as Malaysians by operation of law.
Yeoh today argued that the government fails to understand that granting citizenship to adopted children who have adoption orders from the court can only benefit the government.
She said the most obvious benefits include reducing the government’s financial burden, assisting Malaysian parents who want to legally adopt a child, and reducing the number of abandoned children. MKINI
NST / MKINI