KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Civil societies Light Brigade and Family Frontiers Network of Malaysian Mothers for Equal Citizenship were today announced as joint winners of Suara Rakyat Malaysia’s (Suaram) 25th human rights award 2023.
Light Brigade is a team of three teenage girls from Sabah who took negligent teachers and school administrators of SMK Taun Gusi to court in 2020 for failing to appear and teach them for seven months in 2017.
Although the girls testified without legal representation and had to face hurdles built by the Education Ministry’s officials, the court ruled in favour of the three girls this year.
Justice Leonard David Shim ruled that the teacher’s neglect stripped the right to access education guaranteed to the girls under Article 12 of the Federal Constitution.
Human rights watchdog Suaram said it conferred the award on them due to their courage and resilience in upholding justice despite their young age.
Meanwhile, Family Frontiers was awarded for its efforts in advocating for the constitutional amendment to end discrimination for Malaysian mothers.
Family Frontiers began as a peer support network for 250 Malaysian mothers who were affected by discriminatory citizenship provision in Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution that only conferred citizenship to children born overseas who had Malaysian fathers.
Its advocacy has also gone international with the experience-sharing of affected Malaysian mothers on social media.
Suaram commended Family Frontier’s work and dedication to advocating for an end towards discrimination.
In February, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the Cabinet has agreed to amend the Federal Constitution to enable children born abroad to Malaysian mothers to gain automatic Malaysian citizenship.