Family Support & Welfare Selangor Kuala Lumpur (Family Frontiers) and six Malaysian mothers married to foreigners have been at the centre of headlines after filing an originating summons in the High Court seeking the right to Malaysian citizenship for their overseas-born children.
To their efforts, Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers married to foreigners are entitled by operation of law to be citizens of Malaysia.
However, their success fell short when a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal in a 2-1 majority decision, overturned the decision on 5 August, ruling that children born overseas to Malaysian women who are married to foreign spouses are not entitled to Malaysian citizenship by the law.
In the latest update on their legal challenge, the Federal Court had on Wednesday (14 Dec) allowed the appeal by Malaysian mothers whose children are born overseas and not granted Malaysian citizenship here, to be heard on its full merits.
According to Malay Mail, the group’s leave to appeal is against the Malaysian government, home minister and the National Registration Department (NRD) director-general.
Their appeal was also joined by a second bid involving a 25-year-old woman – Mahisha Sulaiha Abdul Majeed, who was born to a Malaysian mother and Indian national father in India – who wants to be declared a Malaysian citizen but has been unsuccessful in the courts so far.
In order to bring their appeal to the Federal Court to be heard, the Malaysian mothers and Mahisha Sulaiha would have to present their legal questions for the Federal Court to decide in their appeals.
The bench led by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, allowed three leave questions.
The three questions presented revolved around the issue of whether citizenship laws in Malaysia’s Federal Constitution should stop discriminating against Malaysian women, and whether Malaysian mothers’ overseas-born children should also be entitled under the law to automatic Malaysian citizenship.
The questions also highlighted the fact that the Malaysian government had amended the Federal Constitution’s Article 8(2) in September 2001 to stop gender discrimination in Malaysian laws.
The respondents in the appeal, the NRD director-general, the Home Minister and the Malaysian Government, did not oppose the questions posed.
Currently, the citizenship laws discriminate against Malaysian mothers while favouring Malaysian fathers in similar situations, as only the overseas-born children of Malaysian fathers are entitled under the law to automatic Malaysian citizenship.