Citing Home Ministry's 0.89pc approval rate since 2018, Malaysian mothers ask when Federal Constitution will be amended to give their children equal citizenship rights

Citing Home Ministry's 0.89pc approval rate since 2018, Malaysian mothers ask when Federal Constitution will be amended to give their children equal citizenship rights

Family Frontiers, which represents Malaysian mothers stuck in years-long waiting and limbo in applying for their overseas-born children to be Malaysians, today asked the Malaysian government for updates on promised efforts to resolve their plight. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 ― Malaysian mothers today asked the Malaysian government when it would finally amend the Federal Constitution to enable their children born abroad to be recognised as Malaysian too, after the latest statistics showed an abysmally low approval rate of just 0.89 per cent from 2018 until early October 2021.

Advocacy group Family Frontiers noted the hardships faced by Malaysian women over Malaysia’s current unequal citizenship laws where they have to apply for their overseas-born children to be Malaysian citizens, while Malaysian men’s overseas-born children would be entitled to Malaysian citizenship without having to apply.

Referring to the Home Ministry’s October 26 written parliamentary reply where the government had approved only 21 of 2,352 citizenship applications made by Malaysian mothers for their children while 31 were rejected during the 2018 to October 11, 2021 period, Family Frontiers said this meant 2,300 applications have been in limbo since 2018.

“In a span of three years, only 2.2 per cent of the citizenship applications were fully processed, and only 0.89 per cent resulted in citizenship for children of Malaysian women,” Family Frontiers said in describing what the latest statistics mean.

With the process of applying for their overseas-born children’s Malaysian citizenship that could result in repeated rejections without any reasons given and no guarantee of approval, Family Frontiers said the approval rate of below one per cent in 2018 to early October 2021 demonstrates the selective and case-by-case approval approach as being “ineffective and flawed”.

Noting that Malaysian families suffer from physical, financial and emotional harm due to such a citizenship application process, Family Frontiers said the Home Ministry must be accountable and transparent.

Family Frontiers also suggested that the ministry would surely have key performance indicators (KPIs) to enhance its officers’ productivity and accountability in line with the prime minister’s 100-day report card approach to gauge ministers’ performance, while also stressing the need for the home minister to ensure such KPIs are impact-driven and puts the best interest of

children as the paramount consideration.

“Each day that a Malaysian mother does not hear back on her child’s citizenship application is a day that she becomes more vulnerable to domestic violence; remains forcibly separated from her family; lives with the anxiety of not knowing what is in store for her children’s future; and suffers the financial drain of raising a non-Malaysian child from bearing the additional costs that result from constant visa and pass renewals — not to mention lengthy wait times and repeated applications for citizenship,” it said.

Any updates on government’s efforts?

Family Frontiers, which represents Malaysian mothers stuck in years-long waiting and limbo in applying for their overseas-born children to be Malaysians, today asked the Malaysian government for updates on promised efforts to resolve their plight.

“Malaysian mothers at Family Frontiers want to know: Has the attorney general sought an audience with the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong as directed by Cabinet more than one month ago, to receive the consent from the Conference of Rulers for the constitutional amendment, as per the commitment made by the Home Minister?

“When does the Government intend to table the Constitution Amendment Bill to ensure equal citizenship rights of Malaysian women (and their overseas-born children)?” the group asked in a statement today.

Family Frontiers was referring to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin’s September 22 statement to the Dewan Rakyat of plans to pursue amending citizenship provisions in the Federal Constitution to make it easier for Malaysian mothers married to foreigners and who give birth overseas.

Hamzah had also last month said such constitutional amendments on citizenship matters would require consent from the Conference of Rulers, and had also on September 24 said the Cabinet had discussed the citizenship matter and had directed the attorney-general to raise it to the deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong in the nearest time.

Today, Family Frontiers also called for MPs from both the ruling and opposition parties to stand by Malaysian mothers and to ask the government for a “concrete timeline and a status update on the process of amending the Federal Constitution”.

Noting that Malaysia had pledged to prioritise the rights of vulnerable groups such as children and women when it won a seat at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, Family Frontiers said it is time for the Malaysian government to now walk its talk and stand by its pledges by speeding up the process of amending the Federal Constitution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *