Former law minister and UMNO politician Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said believes that it is unfair that only Malaysian fathers are allowed to automatically pass citizenship to their children who are born overseas
The Pengerang member of Parliament (MP) was speaking at a webinar titled 'A Roadmap for Parliamentary Reform for and Beyond the Pandemic' yesterday, 26 August, where she was asked for her views on the Federal Constitution that says only Malaysian fathers can pass down their citizenship to foreign-born kids.
Malaysian mothers are currently fighting against the government and have filed a constitutional challenge in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to seek a declaration that will allow Malaysian women married to foreign men the same privilege with regards to citizenship as it is granted to Malaysian men married to foreign women.
Expressing her views, Azalina started off by saying that she's biased towards issues concerning women and children, so when asked about them, she's obviously going to agree on her personal capacity
"My personal view, and not my party's, I think it's unfair if you look at citizenship is only for the (Malaysian) husbands, not the wives," the UMNO MP said, adding that she doesn't think it's fair.
She stressed that this is her personal view and she isn't looking for religious groups to come after her.
"There is no difference. I am not really talking about real equality, but this is about justice. You have to be fair. You cannot segregate and discriminate. It's like saying women got no brain when they decide to marry a foreigner and have children. I mean like seriously, come on. It's 2021," Azalina went on.
"Personally, I just don't understand the whole logic behind it."
The former law minister, however, believes that bipartisan support can change the provision.
The High Court is due to deliver its decision on 9 September whether to allow Malaysian mothers to pass citizenship to foreign-born kids
According to Free Malaysia Today, judge Akhtar Tahir fixed the verdict date after hearing oral submissions from lawyer Gurdial Singh Nijar who is representing the lawsuit by several Malaysian mothers, supported by Family Frontiers, who want their children born abroad to automatically become Malaysian citizens.
They filed the suit to get the court to declare several provisions – namely Article 14(1)(b) and Sections 1(b) and 1(c) under the schedule of the Constitution – invalid because they discriminate against women.
During the same webinar, Azalina also said that if the new administration is serious about reforms and bipartisanship, it should offer the Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker post to the Opposition: