KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said is ready to lead a delegation of lawmakers to meet with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong over the rights of Malaysian women to pass on their citizenship to children born abroad.

She told online news portal The Vibes in a podcast session that the push is based on the reasoning that the law should be fair to both genders and described the current constitutional provision where only Malaysian fathers can pass on citizenship to foreign-born children as “archaic”.

“I think my select committee (Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Women and Children Affairs and Social Development) consisting of MPs from both sides of the divide, and some senators, are willing to speak to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Conference of Rulers to explain, not just from the perspective of politicians, but NGOs as well.

“With women making up about 50 per cent of our population, we (Malaysia) have to progress. We have to keep going forward,” she said during the discussion.

She added that it was unfair to expect Malaysian women to fall in love with only Malaysian men, saying that Malaysian women who are based abroad want to know that they can return to Malaysia and be assured that they will not be discriminated against because of their gender.

“The government has to accept this private member’s bill and turn it into a government bill. It’s just a sentence in the constitution (that we are seeking to amend),” she was reported saying about her submission of a Private Member’s Bill to the Dewan Rakyat.

The former special law adviser to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had proposed the amendment of Part II of the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution, Clause (1)(b), seeking to insert the word “mother” after “father” and in Clause (1)(c), by inserting after the word father, the words “or mother”.

Besides that, she added that many Malaysians have relationships with foreigners.

“I mean, come on, most of the politicians, they must have, too.

“At the end of the day, men have to say something, too. It cannot just be the women politicians,” she said.

She previously slammed the unequal citizenship laws as “sexist”, saying that they have a direct impact on the sustainable development of the country and could lead to other human rights violations.

On August 5, the Court of Appeal decided in a 2-1 majority decision that the overseas-born children of Malaysian mothers cannot automatically be Malaysian citizens.

This was brought about by an appeal by the Malaysian government against the High Court’s September 9, 2021 decision, which recognised that Malaysia’s citizenship laws discriminated against women and had ruled that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers should also be entitled to Malaysian citizenship.


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