July 24, 2024

New Malaysia Times

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Govt loses bid to stay High Court ruling on equal citizenship

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PUTRAJAYA, Dec 22 — The Court of Appeal today dismissed the government’s application to stay a High Court ruling that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers married to foreigners are entitled to be Malaysian citizens, pending the disposal of an appeal.

A three-member panel led by Justice Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said in a unanimous decision said the court was not persuaded there were special circumstances for the appellate court to grant a stay by the government.

“We take the view that this is not an ordinary case of stay involving chattels or monetary judgment. It involves the rights of the children and these rights have been recognized by the High Court order.”

“In our view, the situation and circumstances are compelling and the respondents (Family Frontiers and six Malaysian women) should not be deprived of the fruits of the declaratory judgment of the High Court.”

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“Furthermore, the government’s application to stay a High Court ruling is dismissed with no order as to costs,” said justice Kamaludin, who sat with Justices Datuk S. Nantha Balan and Datuk See Mee Chun in the proceedings conducted via Zoom.

Senior federal counsel, Liew Horng Bin appeared for the appellants while counsel Datuk Dr. Gurdial Singh Nijar, Joshua Andran, and Abraham Au represented the respondents.

The Malaysian government, Home Minister, and the National Registration Department (NRD) director-general as the appellants filed a stay application pending the hearing of their appeal against the High Court’s decision declaring that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers who are married to foreigners are entitled by operation of the law to be Malaysian citizens.

The Court of Appeal fixed March 23 next year to hear the appellants’ appeal against the High Court’s decision. 

On Sept 9 this year, a High Court allowed a legal suit brought by the Association of Family Support & Welfare, Selangor & Kuala Lumpur (Family Frontiers), and six Malaysian women who are married to foreigners.

In their originating summons, they are seeking six specific court orders, including a declaration that Section 1(b) and Section 1(c) of the Second Schedule, Part II of the Federal Constitution be read harmoniously with Article 8 (2) to include Malaysian mothers as a condition for children born abroad to be given automatic Malaysian citizenship.

Among other things, they also want a court order for all relevant government agencies, including the NRD, Immigration Department, and Malaysian embassies, to issue documents relating to citizenship (including passports and identity cards) to children born abroad to Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses.

NMT as reported by Bernama