Don’t oppose citizenship for stateless kids, government urged

(Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: A civil rights group has urged the government to drop the lawsuit against the grant of citizenship to three stateless children.

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), referring to the case listed in the Federal Court for Thursday, also asked the home ministry and the Attorney-General’s Chambers to consider the appeals by these children.

The cases have been pending in court since Barisan Nasional’s (BN) time in power.

LFL expressed disappointment in Putrajaya’s continued opposition to the issue despite the change of government last year.

It said Pakatan Harapan (PH) had championed the cause of the children during its time in the opposition but had not kept its promises after taking federal power.

“When PH was in the opposition, it was vocal in championing victims who were denied citizenship by BN. Promises were made repeatedly that PH would resolve citizenship/statelessness issues when it formed the government,” lawyers N Surendran and Latheefa Koya said in a statement.

They said the children had suffered a lot and that their studies had been adversely affected by the trials.

“Maintaining the objections in court increases the uncertainty and trauma that these children and their families have been undergoing for many years,” they added.

In October 2018, the Federal Court resolved two such cases after the home ministry approved the children’s registration as Malaysian citizens.

The verdict was given by a historic nine-judge bench led by Chief Justice Richard Malanjum.

The applications of an 18-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl were approved under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution. However, citizenship for the remaining children could not be issued in the absence of certain documents.

The issue has been pending in the top court since then.