Register marriages to avoid children becoming stateless, deputy home minister tells parents

Participants attend a rehearsal in conjunction with the 61st Merdeka Day celebrations in Putrajaya August 28, 2018. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Participants attend a rehearsal in conjunction with the 61st Merdeka Day celebrations in Putrajaya August 28, 2018. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — It is the duty of parents to register their marriages before their children are born to enable them to qualify for Malaysian citizenship, Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman said in Parliament today amid a resurgence of stateless woes. 

Citing Article 15A of the Federal Constitution, the deputy home minister also gave an assurance that registration for citizenship is still open to children born out of wedlock after their parents have certified their marriage.

“It is the responsibility of the parents or guardians to arrange the identification documents, of travel documents for non-Malaysian children, before their child turns 21 years old, to avoid being entangled in issues of statelessness,” he said during Question Time.

“If the father is a foreigner and the mother a Malaysian, whether their marriage has been registered or not, the child will still be a Malaysian,” he said.

However, he said the law does not currently recognise a child as Malaysian even if his father is Malaysian but his mother is of a different nationality.

Azis was answering questions to his ministry in the Dewan Rakyat this morning and was asked to elaborate on the situation of stateless children whose parents’ marriage had not been registered.

He said he was aware of many such cases in the country but reiterated that the burden is on parents to properly document their children’s births.

“The issue here is many marriages are not registered, and when it’s not registered, their child would be the one born having to bare all the issues.

“If you’re brave enough to get married, be brave enough to register and take responsibility; later on, the implications would fall on the child,” he said.

*A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.

Related Articles