PUTRAJAYA – The Court of Appeal will hear on Dec 22 the government’s application to stay a High Court ruling that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers who are married to foreigners are entitled to be Malaysian citizens, pending disposal of an appeal.
A three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk Yaacob Md Sam, Datuk S. Nantha Balan and Datuk Nordin Hassan brought forward the hearing date of the stay application from March 18 next year to Dec 22.
Justice Yaacob, who led the bench, told parties in the case that the court would not make any orders pertaining to the government’s application for an interim stay order pending the hearing of its (government’s) stay application.
The court was supposed to hear the interim stay application by the Malaysian government, Home Minister and the National Registration Department (NRD) director-general to preserve the status quo pending the hearing of their stay application which was initially fixed for March next year.
The appellants (Malaysian government, Home Minister and NRD director-general) filed a stay application pending hearing of their appeal against the High Court’s decision declaring that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers who are married to foreigners are entitled by operation of law to be Malaysian citizens.
The Court of Appeal had fixed March 23 next year to hear the appellants’ appeal against the High Court’s decision. The court (Court of Appeal) will hear the appeal together with another citizenship case involving a woman born oversea to a Malaysian mother.
On Sept 9 this year, a High Court allowed a legal suit brought by the Association of Family Support & Welfare Selangor & Kuala Lumpur (Family Frontiers) and six Malaysian women who are married to foreigners.
In their originating summons, they are seeking six specific court orders, including a declaration that Section 1(b) and Section 1(c) of the Second Schedule, Part II of the Federal Constitution be read harmoniously with Article 8 (2) to include Malaysian mothers as a condition for children born abroad to be given automatic Malaysian citizenship.
Among other things, they also want a court order for all relevant government agencies, including the NRD, Immigration Department and Malaysian embassies, to issue documents relating to citizenship (including passports and identity cards) to children born abroad to Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses.
Earlier, in today’s proceedings conducted online, senior federal counsel Liew Horng Bing, appearing for the appellants, told the court that in a letter, the mothers requested them (the appellants) to comply with the High Court order.
He said he received strict instruction to proceed with the appeal because the questions of law involved beyond the issues of citizenship.
He also told the court that the appellants could not agree with the proposed terms set out by the mothers, adding that their appeal would be rendered academic if they complied with the mothers’ requests.
Lawyer Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar, representing the association and the women, said they wanted to wait for the government to carry out the process to grant citizenship for the children, but pointed out that the government could not agree with certain terms made by them.