KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Family Frontiers and Malaysian mothers said today that Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail had not kept his promise to provide reasons for rejecting the citizenship applications for overseas-born children of Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses.

“The minister also guaranteed that from March onwards, based on his announcements, any rejections would include reasons for a failed application.

“So far, even from applications that others received from March onwards, there were no reasons stated, and that is worrying,” said Family Frontiers exco member Suriani Kempe during a press conference today.

They also urged the government to make the constitutional amendment retroactive to address the discrimination faced by this group of affected children.

“Hypothetically, if the amendment passes and it is not retroactive, then you have a whole population of children belonging to Malaysian mothers, who are still stuck in limbo, who will not be able to apply for Malaysian citizenship.

“We are creating a generation of disenfranchised children of Malaysian mothers,” she added.

The government's amendment also excludes overseas-born children of Malaysian mothers who are now above 21 and are ineligible to apply for citizenship, including some whose mothers have died.

Suriani said this underscores the importance of the amendments in Sections 1(b) and 1(c) of Part II of the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution to operate retrospectively.

She also said that she hopes the Bill will be amended during the parliamentary process as the group crafts a proposal to the minister.

“We recently had a roundtable discussion with experts where we stress-tested some of our proposals.

“We’re covering all angles, and running them past experts from legal, sociology, and anthropology perspectives, as well as security experts, as that is the main argument that the government is putting forth, saying that this is why the amendments are the way they are currently,” Suriani said.

According to Family Frontiers data, out of 40 known rejections, 34 applicants resided overseas.

At the time of writing, its representatives said the home minister had yet to respond or reach out to the group, despite multiple attempts to secure an appointment.

As the government sets the amendments in motion, the group is also seeking a court-decided interpretation of the word “father” in Section 1(b) of Part II, Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution, in a case that is set to be heard on June 25.

* An earlier version of the report contained an error that has since been corrected.