“Amend the Federal Constitution to put an end to prejudice against mothers”

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PETALING JAYA: Amendments to the Federal Constitution are expected to be put in place at the next Dewan Rakyat session to remove discriminatory practices against Malaysian mothers, according to MCA.

Spokesperson Chan Quin Er said parliament should consider tabling amendments to read “either parent” or “either mother or father” or “mother and father” can confer the citizenship to their children born abroad.

“MCA cannot hide its disappointment with the Court of Appeal’s decision that mothers with foreign husbands and foreign-born children cannot automatically grant citizenship to their newborns.

“With this latest ruling, Malaysia remains one of 25 countries where Malaysian mothers are denied the same rights as fathers under our citizenship laws,” she said.

She called for bipartisan support to empower Malaysian mothers and embody the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia, which values ​​citizenship, gender equality, freedom and non-discriminatory practices.

“Nevertheless, we note that this was a majority decision and not a unanimous judgment in which the dissenting judge, Datuk S. Nantha Balan, pointed out that by prohibiting Malaysian women from passing citizenship to their foreign-born children, these citizenship laws are discriminatory,” she said.

She added that the MCA is committed to fully supporting the six Malaysian mothers and Family Frontiers who intend to file an appeal with the Federal Court and that the party’s legal team is at their disposal.

Another spokesman, Saw Yee Fung, said amendments to the Constitution were needed to ensure that children born overseas would have a normal education.

“In order for a child to enjoy their growing years as normally as possible, it is incumbent on the law to make changes to enshrine the fact that Malaysian mothers have the same constitutional rights as Malaysian fathers.

“They are deprived of all citizenship privileges enjoyed by Malaysian children. Many Malaysians do not realize or take it for granted that higher education in public schools is provided at greatly reduced fees or that admission to public hospitals is free,” she said.

She added that the children would also be stateless because they would not be able to apply for a blue MyKad, thus preventing them from getting a job later in life.

“If the Malaysian mother’s marriage fails and she chooses to return to our tanah air (homeland) with her child, the status of the child is tantamount to statelessness.

“Or if her ex-spouse fights for custody, the Malaysian mother is at a disadvantage if the child does not have Malaysian nationality or is stateless,” she said.

She explained that the amended Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution in 2001 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex and other laws passed must comply with its provisions.

“Therefore, by incorporating ‘sex’ as a ground against discrimination, women’s rights will be authoritatively protected as a fundamental freedom under this enshrined document.

“It is hoped that other laws that currently discriminate against women will be reviewed,” she said.

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