PETALING JAYA: Two former deputy ministers have urged women, family and community development minister Rina Harun to stop being silent and speak out on the discrimination women face over the citizenship rights of their children.
Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh and Sepanggar MP Azis Jamman want Rina to step in and stop the government’s attempt to quash a citizenship suit filed by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and Malaysian mothers married to foreign spouses.
Yesterday, the government had attempted to strike out a declaration sought by Family Frontiers and six others that Malaysian women married to foreign spouses may confer citizenship to their children.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) argued during a hearing at the Kuala Lumpur High Court that their claim was frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the process of court.
Senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly said Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution only grants Malaysian fathers the right to confer citizenship to children born overseas to foreign spouses.
In a joint statement today, former deputy women, family and community development minister Yeoh and former deputy home minister Azis said the ministries responsible should have come forward to raise the issue of discrimination against women.
“We expect Rina to come forward and defend the mothers. Until now, we are still waiting for her statement after the issue of inequality in granting Malaysian citizenship was raised.”
Yeoh and Azis said Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who was women, family and community development minister under the former Pakatan Harapan administration, would have quickly engaged with the home ministry to resolve the issue.
They said that citizenship rights for children was an important issue and if the Perikatan Nasional-led government refused to resolve it, they should make way for others.