4th December 2020
I refer to the statement made by the Deputy Home Minister, Ismail Mohamed Said as reported by Malaysiakini in a news report entitled “M’sian women cannot confer nationality on children due to national security.”
(1) This is an archaic law and policy discriminating against our very own Malaysian women.
(2) During our 22 months in Putrajaya, our Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail wrote to the Home Minister asking for this to be reformed. There was no positive feedback from the Home Minister then who is now the current Prime Minister.
(3) This conservative policy hurts the children of Malaysian women. They should rightfully be Malaysians.
(4) This discriminatory policy reduces options for Malaysian women seeking divorce, protection, or relief because it assumes the presence of the father figure in a happy family setting. This is not the reality for many Malaysian women. Those who have to leave their union are often stuck between a rock and a hard place because their children do not have citizenship in their homeland.
(5) Malaysian women bring equal contribution to our economy and social development and they ought to be treated like their male counterparts.
(6) Citizenship should be granted to every child whose either parent or adopted parent is Malaysian, regardless of the marital status of the parent and the gender of the Malaysian parent or the place of birth of the child; including foundling children.
(7) The Home Ministry must expedite reform in this area especially in the Covid-19 pandemic era because many seeming options for travel to the place of giving birth are not options to begin with due to the shutting of our borders.
(8) Let me remind the Home Ministry that what is of a greater threat to national security is corruption within their enforcement system as seen in the recent arrest of immigration and police officers. Innocent children cannot and will not be a danger to our nation.
Member of Parliament for Segambut
Former Deputy Minister of Women, Family, and Community Development