PETALING JAYA: The government can still withdraw its appeal against a High Court ruling that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers are entitled to citizenship by operation of law, a retired judge said.
However, Gopal Sri Ram said it would be better if the appeal went ahead, allowing both the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court to affirm it.
Sri Ram said the attorney-general (AG) could decide to withdraw the appeal after reading the written grounds which have yet to be made available by the trial judge.
“The AG could file a notice of discontinuance if he is satisfied with the reasons provided by the judge as to why he came to such a finding,” Sri Ram said.
He said that in filing the appeal, the AG would need to look into questions of law although others may look at it from a moral point of view.
“From a legal angle, the government may have something to complain about and we will know only if the appeal is heard in the Court of Appeal and finally in the Federal Court,” he said.
Sri Ram said the law on citizenship, disputed by mothers, will not be settled until a final determination by the Federal Court.
“It is better for this matter to be raised in the apex court and have the High Court ruling affirmed.”
Sri Ram said this in response to an appeal by a non-governmental organisation and an MP who had called on the government to withdraw its notice of appeal against the High Court decision.
Family Frontiers said the appeal should be withdrawn to ensure that injustice against Malaysian women was not perpetuated.
Meanwhile, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said the issue would be a big test for the “Malaysian Family” concept espoused by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
AG Idrus Harun told FMT that a notice of appeal was filed on Monday.
On Sept 9, High Court judge Akhtar Tahir held that the word “father” in the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution must mean and include mothers.
He held that mothers were entitled to confer citizenship by operation of law in all processes, just like fathers.