PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has ruled that the overseas-born children of Malaysian women married to foreigners cannot automatically be Malaysian citizens.
In a majority decision on Friday (Aug 5), the court ruled in favour of the government’s bid to overturn a landmark High Court ruling which said that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses were entitled to Malaysian citizenship.
Malaysian media reported that the Court of Appeal’s decision was delivered by a three-judge bench chaired by Judge Kamaludin Md Said.
He and Judge Azizah Nawawi gave the majority decision, while Judge Nantha Balan disagreed.
The Malaysian government had appealed against the High Court’s September 2021 decision, which recognised that Malaysia’s citizenship laws discriminated against women.
The High Court also ruled that Malaysian mothers whose children are born overseas should also be entitled to Malaysian citizenship.
In the Court of Appeal on Friday, Judge Kamaludin and Judge Azizah took the view that the word “father” in the Second Schedule of Part II of the Federal Constitution meant the biological father and cannot be extended to include the mother or parents.
It is up to the country’s parliament, not the court, to rewrite the constitution, said the two judges as quoted by the New Straits Times.
In his dissenting statement, Judge Balan, however, said that Article 14 of the constitution, which provided for the granting of citizenship to children born outside the federation, was discriminatory as it violated the equality provision.
He said that based on the present legal status, the mother’s bloodline is made to look inferior to the father’s, the New Straits Times added.