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GEORGE TOWN, Dec 4 — Every child with a Malaysian parent or adopted by a Malaysian parent should be granted Malaysian citizenship, said Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh.
The former deputy minister of women, family and community development said citizenship should be granted to all children regardless of the marital status and gender of their Malaysian parent and the place of birth of the child.
She was referring to Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said’s statement that Malaysian women cannot confer nationality on their children due to national security as an archaic and discriminatory law.
“This conservative policy hurts the children of Malaysian women. They should rightfully be Malaysians,” she said in a statement today.
She added that the discriminatory policy reduces options for Malaysian women seeking divorces, protection or relief because it assumes the presence of the father figure in a happy family setting.
“The reality is not like that for many Malaysian women,” she said.
She said there are Malaysian women who want to leave their marriage but are often stuck because their children do not have citizenship in their homeland.
She reminded the government that Malaysian women bring equal contribution to the country’s economy and social development so they should be treated like their male counterparts.
She called on the Home Ministry to expedite reform in this issue, especially in the Covid-19 pandemic era, as there were no options to travel back to give birth due to the shutting of the country’s borders.
She said under the previous Pakatan Harapan administration, the then deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had written to the then home minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin asking for this to be reformed, but there was no positive feedback from the latter who is currently the prime minister.
“Let me remind the Home Ministry that what is of a greater threat to national security is corruption within its enforcement system as seen in the recent arrest of immigration and police officers,” she said.