Stop the delay in approving citizenship applications, says Merbok MP Nor Azrina Surip as she called out the home ministry’s lack of action despite it has been 7 months since the high court ruled that Malaysian mothers have the right to confer citizenship to their children born overseas, on an equal basis with Malaysian men.
In a statement, Azrina said the data by the National Registration Department showed that only 19 of the 3,407 citizenship applications had been approved from 2018 to June this year, while 7 were rejected.
“It would take 681 years to approve all the child citizenship applications in Malaysia.”
“This is appalling and humiliating for children and mothers in Malaysia as it puts them in a precarious situation,” she said.
With this, the Merbok MP said the rate of approvals came up to 0.6%.
In the meantime, she also requested that the home ministry disclose the standard operating procedure (SOP) in granting citizenship.
Azrina then urged the relevant ministries to find the best solution to ensure children’s rights were protected, and that the law would be applied equally and without discrimination.
Meanwhile, a group that advocates the rights of foreign spouses in Malaysia, Family Frontiers said it was appalled by the home ministry’s approval rates for citizenship applications, saying such delays were detrimental to women and children.
The group then condemned the ministry’s inefficiency and lack of responsibility demonstrated as incredibly unacceptable.
“With an approval rate of less than 0.6%, it can be deduced that it would take the home ministry around six centuries to process all applications,” the group said, adding that these children do not have such long lifespans.
“The longer the home ministry delays the citizenship application process, the longer they deliberately place Malaysian women and their children in situations of harm and violence.”
On September 9, the high court here ruled that Malaysian mothers have the right to confer citizenship to their children born overseas, on equal basis with Malaysian men.
The court ruled that Article 14(1)(b) of the federal constitution together with the Second Schedule, Part II, Section 1(b), pertaining to citizenship rights, must be read in harmony with Article 8(2) of the federal constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.
High court judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir announced that the word “father” must be read to include mothers, and that their children are entitled to citizenship by operation of law.