M’sian women cannot confer nationality on children due to national security

The government has cited national security concerns as a reason to prevent a Malaysian woman married to a foreign spouse from conferring nationality on her child born abroad.

(Malaysiakini) – Deputy Home Minister Ismail Mohamed Said told the Dewan Rakyat today the reservation was to avoid the issue of dual-citizenship among children born abroad to Malaysian women with foreign husbands.

“This is because in other countries, (most) children born overseas will follow their father’s citizenship.

“Therefore we must be diligent to prevent the child from being granted dual-citizenship,” said the Kuala Krau MP in response to Natrah Ismail (Harapan-Sekijang).

“This is a matter of national security and sovereignty that we must ensure,” he said.

The Federal Constitution only guarantees citizenship to children born overseas to Malaysian fathers but is silent on children born overseas to Malaysian mothers.

Ismail further confirmed that Malaysia maintains its reservations to Article 9(2) on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw).

The reservation relates to a recommendation for states to grant women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children.

Natrah (photo) questioned the government’s current stand on the issue which had been described as discrimination against Malaysian women.

Last month, panellists at a forum analysing strategies to address challenges faced by transnational families during Covid-19 noted that the ongoing problem has intensified due to border closures and travel restrictions.

Former women, family, and community development deputy minister Hannah Yeoh at the time said there were an estimated 40,000 pending applications from Malaysian women seeking citizenship for their children.