Malaysiakini Letter

Home Ministry and AGC must drop objections to citizenship for stateless children

N Surendran and Latheefa Koya  |  Published:

LETTER | We refer to the final hearing at the Federal Court of the appeals of three stateless children for grant of citizenship, which is to be heard on Feb 14.

These cases are classic instances of unjust and wrongful denial of citizenship to children by the previous BN regime. 

The children and their parents have suffered grievously as a result of the BN's policies, as a consequence of which their cases have been tied up in the courts for many years. 

This has resulted in serious jeopardy to the children's education, future and general well-being.

We are disappointed that despite the change of government, the current Home Ministry and Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) have been maintaining the objections to citizenship for these children.

Despite having postponed the hearing of the cases twice to re-consider the matter, on Thursday they will be objecting in court for grant of citizenship in these cases.

Maintaining the objections in court increases the uncertainty and trauma that these children and their families have been undergoing for many years. 

Citizenship should have been granted years ago instead of dragging these children through the courts.

When Harapan was in opposition, it was vocal in championing victims of denial of citizenship by the BN. 

Promises were made repeatedly that Harapan would resolve citizenship/ statelessness issues when it formed the government.

Taking an uncompromising position in these cases in court also indicates that the thousands of other stateless persons in the same plight will remain so under the new Harapan government.

This is unacceptable, and contrary to the aspirations and hopes of Malaysians in the post-BN era.

We urge the Home Ministry and AGC to reconsider the objections in these cases, and consent to the appeals of these stateless children. They have suffered enough under the BN regime; it is time to end the long wait of these children for citizenship.

The writers are Lawyers for Liberty advisor and executive director, respectively.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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