Malaysiakini News

'If Taib's wife can be citizen, M'sian-born stateless kids can, too'

Published:  |  Modified:

The government must give citizenship to stateless children if it can easily do the same for Sarawak governor Abdul Taib Mahmud's wife in six years, DAP's Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching said.

She said between 2008 and 2015, a total of 47,232 foreigners married to Malaysians were granted citizenship.

This includes those from Indonesia (19,935), India (5,228) and Cambodia (2,387).

However, between 2011 and April 2016, a total of 131,810 children in Malaysia were recorded as 'non-citizens'.

Most could not be registered as Malaysians because their Malaysian fathers did not register their marriage to a foreign spouse before the children were born, she said.

This despite the children being born in Malaysia, she said.

The federal constitution states anyone born in the federation, whose parents at the time of the birth were citizens or permanent residents of the federation, are citizens of Malaysia.

She said the federal constitution did not require the children's parents to register their marriage prior to the birth, for the children to be registered as Malaysians.

However, because of the administrative ruling, the children are considered non-citizens and have to pay full fees at public hospitals, nor are they entitled to free textbooks in school or enrol in public primary and secondary schools.

Neither will they enjoy subsidised fees at public universities, apply for student loans through the National Higher Education Loan Scheme (PTPTN) or obtain a passport.

"With all these challenges, the children will have great difficulties to excel in life and they will also have a problem to get a job," she said in a statement.

"Children should not be made victims due to their parents' carelessness.

"If we can give citizenship to foreigners, including those from Indonesia, India and Cambodia, why can't we grant citizenship to the children of our own Malaysian citizens based on humanitarian grounds?" she asked.

Yesterday, DAP's Batu Kawan MP Kashturi Patto questioned how Ragad Taib can obtain a citizenship in a relatively short six years after marrying the governor.

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