PETALING JAYA: A motion urging the government to officially remove the word “illegitimate” from documents of children born out of wedlock is among those up for discussion at the Malaysian Bar’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) this Saturday.
The motion, filed by Charles Hector, says such a term has been avoided universally as it can affect a child’s development and well-being, emotionally and psychologically.
“Children should not be discriminated against on the basis of whether they were born within a legally-registered marriage or otherwise.
“The children are blameless and as such, should not be suffering the consequence of how they came into being by the actions of their biological parents and the law”, read the motion sighted by FMT.
It is titled “Motion to Protect the Rights of the Child and Abolish Gender Discrimination in Malaysian Laws”.
The motion states that the term “illegitimate” child is also derogatory and the use of such description for a child born out of wedlock should cease.
It added that whether the parents of the child were married or not at the time of conception or at birth, it does not change the fact on who is the biological father and mother of the child.
“All rights and entitlements of these children ought to be recognised and defended, whether it was outside of a marriage or a relationship which was consensual or otherwise.
“As such, in the best interests of these children, their rights must be recognised and protected, including the right to acquire citizenship, education, healthcare, welfare and other rights,” it said.
The motion also touched on the issue of Malaysian mothers not having their children born overseas recognised as citizens if the father was a foreigner.
“Malaysia must stop the practice of discrimination based on gender and amend the Federal Constitution and other relevant laws to ensure that the mother has equal rights as the father, especially when it comes to a child’s entitlement to citizenship.