No room for statelessness: “Alternative solutions to amending Fed Constitution’s Section 1(e),” says MCA Youth

THE proposed changes to the Federal Constitution that would deny citizenship for children born out of wedlock to Malaysian fathers and foreign mothers is not only regressive but also deeply harmful to the affected children, said an MCA Youth leader.

The party’s youth wing information chief Neow Choo Seong said 000000

“Statelessness, the condition of lacking any recognised nationality, is a fate no child should have to endure,” Neow stressed.

“It restricts their access to basic rights and opportunities, including education, healthcare, and the ability to travel and work freely. Children born stateless face a bleak future, trapped in a cycle of poverty and vulnerability.”

Recently, in a bid to prevent “misunderstanding and misuse to obtain citizenship for unqualified individuals”, the Home Affairs Ministry had proposed amending the Constitution by removing Section 1(e) of Part II of the Second Schedule, which currently grants automatic citizenship to all Malaysia-born individuals without existing nationality.

Opposing the proposal, civil groups emphasise the critical role of Section 1(e) as the final bastion against an increase in statelessness.

They contend that the ministry’s justification lacks merit, given that Malaysia’s citizenship laws have already unequivocally barred dual citizenship.

On this matter, Neow said there should be room for further discussion and refinement to ensure that the proposed changes fully align with the Madani framework’s principles of human rights and dignity.

“We understand the government’s intention to uphold existing national laws and address sensitive issues related to citizenship, however, we urge careful consideration of how any changes might affect the lives of children, who should not be penalised for circumstances beyond their control,” he remarked.

“MCA Youth believes there are ways to navigate these complex issues while ensuring the rights and well-being of all children are protected.

“We remain committed to working with the government and all stakeholders to explore alternative solutions that prioritise empathy and inclusivity, such as facilitating clear pathways to citizenship for all the undocumented children born to Malaysian parents.

“We believe that every child deserves a chance to thrive and reach their full potential, including stateless children born out of wedlock to a Malaysian father.

“Denying them citizenship based on the circumstances of their birth is ultimately a self-defeating move. It creates a generation of stateless individuals who are deprived of the opportunity to contribute to our society and economy.” – Dec 15, 2023


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