Malaysian mothers fight country’s unequal citizenship laws

by | Aug 2, 2022 | World

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – After a decade in the United States, Aniza Ismail returned to Malaysia in 2009 with her two daughters. Recently separated from the girls’ Indonesian father, the 50-year-old wanted to bring them closer to her extended family and equip them with a better understanding of Islam.But despite the fact that Aniza is Malaysian and the family has lived in Malaysia for 12 years, her daughters are not Malaysian.
This is because the girls were born outside the country. Malaysian women married to foreigners are unable to pass their citizenship to their children born abroad because the constitution only affords the right to Malaysian men.
“Why do fathers so easily have the right, but not mothers? My two eldest daughters who were born outside Malaysia can’t get citizenship, but my youngest born in Malaysia automatically gets citizenship. Why the difference?” Aniza asked.
Article 14(1)(b) of Malaysia’s constitution gives fathers the automatic right to confer citizenship on their children born abroad – but omits any mention of mothers.
In December 2020, local rights group Family Frontiers and six other Malaysian mothers with non-Malaysian spouses and c …

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