Courtroom victory for Malaysia-born teen, but IC, citizenship still out of grasp

Although a he won a High Court ruling, 17-year-old Navin Moorthy still has to wait longer to know if the government will recognise him as a citizen and issue him an identity card. — File pic
Although a he won a High Court ruling, 17-year-old Navin Moorthy still has to wait longer to know if the government will recognise him as a citizen and issue him an identity card. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — Born in Malaysia, teenager Navin Moorthy won a dispute in the Court of Appeal today but will have to wait longer to know if the government will recognise him as a citizen and issue him an identity card.

Navin’s lawyer Annou Xavier said the court had dismissed the government’s appeal against his client, but said a previous High Court ruling that awarded citizenship status to the 17-year-old has been changed.

The Court of Appeal has instead ordered Putrajaya to reconsider the citizenship application of the teenager that they had previously rejected.

“But now that (the High Court order) has been varied to state that the government and home minister must consider the citizenship application in accordance with the law within six months from now,” the lawyer told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

The government usually takes between 15 to 18 months to make such decisions, Annou said.

The decision was made by a three-man bench chaired by Datuk Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim and composing of two other judges, Datuk Rohana Yusuf and Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham.

Last November 25, Navin finally won an order from the Kuala Lumpur High Court that awarded him citizenship, with the government then ordered to recognise him as a Malaysian and grant him an IC.

In December 2013, Navin had through his father Moorthy Ramiah Pillai filed a civil suit against the director-general of the National Registration Department (NRD), the Home Ministry that oversees the NRD, and the federal government over his citizenship status.

In his submissions, the teenager claimed that he was initially issued a birth certificate that listed him as a citizen when he was born on July 8, 1998, but found that his status was later changed to “Bukan Warganegara” or non-citizen.

Navin, who was born to a Malaysian father and Filipino mother, is also listed as a citizen in his Malaysian passport issued by the Immigration Department.

His businessman father, Moorthy, had applied twice with the NRD for his son’s citizenship, but claims that both applications were rejected by the Home Ministry.

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