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Brunei
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Brunei
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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    Citizenship ruling on babies born abroad overturned

    PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA (AFP) – Malaysia’s Court of Appeal yesterday overturned a landmark ruling that had enabled mothers with foreign spouses to automatically pass on their nationality to children born overseas.

    A Malaysian woman with a foreign spouse who gives birth abroad cannot automatically pass on her nationality. Similar restrictions do not apply to Malaysian men, who enjoy a straight path to citizenship for their offspring.

    A group of Malaysian mothers had challenged what it said were discriminatory rules, arguing they breached constitutional equality guarantees, and won before the High Court last September.

    But the government appealed the verdict, arguing the rules were in line with the constitution.

    A three-judge panel, voting 2-1 yesterday, overturned the High Court’s ruling.

    “The government’s appeal is allowed. The High Court decision is set aside,” said judge Kamaludin Mohamad Said.

    Family Frontiers President Suri Kempe speaks to reporters. PHOTO: BERNAMA

    He added that the High Court “cannot on its own whim and fancy rewrite constitution as it would lead to absurdity”.

    The mothers who had filed the case and activists said they were disappointed with the decision.

    Gurdial Singh, a lawyer for the mothers, told AFP they would file an appeal before the Federal Court – the country’s highest tribunal.

    President of Family Frontiers, a non-governmental organisation which helped bring the case to court, Suri Kempe described the latest ruling as a “setback” but said they would fight on.

    If affected mothers bring their children back to Malaysia, the youngsters faced difficulty accessing public services such as free education and healthcare.

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