SEGAMBUT MP Hannah Yeoh has expressed her disgust over the Perikatan Nasional (PN) Government’s latest decision to appeal and to set aside the High Court’s decision that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers are entitled to citizenship by operation of law.
Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun has informed the media that the notice of appeal has been filed, said Yeoh in a statement on Tuesday (Sept 14).
“Just days ago, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Harun had publicly welcomed the court decision, describing it as a new ray of hope for Malaysian women,” said the former deputy women, family and community development minister.
“She had also said that the decision reflected the PN Government’s commitment to creating equality for women.
“As the AG’s action clearly contradicted that public statement by the Women Minister, one cannot help but wonder if this is a double-minded Government or is it just another case of the Women Minister’s being clueless about her responsibility to champion equality for women?”
Yeoh further called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to urgently instruct the AG to withdraw the appeal and similarly instruct the Home Ministry to respect and implement the High Court’s decision.
“This episode alone has shown so many inconsistencies within his Cabinet but the most glaring weakness is the failure of this Government to protect women and children.
“His one big Malaysian family concept is being tested and torn apart by this nonsensical and cruel decision of the AG to cause hardship and heartache to these mothers and their families,” she said.
On Sept 9, the High Court had ruled that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses should be automatically conferred Malaysian citizenship.
The Court ruled that Article 4(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution together with the Second Schedule, Part II, Section 1(b), pertaining to citizenship rights, must be read in harmony with Article 8(2), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.
High Court judge Akhtar Tahir ruled the word ‘father’ must therefore be read to include mothers, and that their children are entitled to citizenship by operation of law.
Justice Akhtar said the Courts are empowered to interpret the law to uphold the spirit of the Federal Constitution and ensure justice.
He said the case does not seek to change policy but rather to apply existing law in a way that will find a remedy for the grievance of the plaintiffs.
“The grievances of the plaintiffs are real…the discrimination is apparent,” he said while reading out his decision. – Sept 14, 2021.