Press Statement
New Govt must drop objections to citizenship for stateless children in Federal court test cases on 4th June
2 June 2018

We refer to 2 important test cases ( Lim Jen Shian and another) on the right to citizenship for stateless children which will be heard by the Federal Court on 4th June 2018.

These 2 cases involve children who were born in Malaysia, and have lived in Malaysia all their lives. In the Lim Jen Shian case, the father of the child is a Malaysian citizen; whereas in the other case, the child is an orphan whose adoptive parents are both Malaysian citizens.

On these facts, under the provisions of the federal constitution, both these children should be citizens by operation of law. This is by virtue of Article 14(1)(b) read with the 2nd Schedule Part 1(a) of the Constitution.

To the terrible misfortune of these 2 children, the previous BN government through lawyers from the AG’s Chambers had strenuously objected to granting them citizenship.

Consequently, both the High Court and Court of Appeal had dismissed their cases. The cases now finally come to the Federal court after a 5 year long legal battle. This is the last hope of these 2 stateless children.

However, we are surprised and disappointed that the Attorney General’s Chambers is still maintaining their objections to citizenship for these 2 children.

There is a new PH government elected, which is committed to upholding the rights of all those stateless persons who are entitled and qualified to be citizens by virtue of the constitution.

The new government had even specifically included the promise to resolve statelessness in their election manifesto!

The AG’s Chambers should therefore not be objecting to the citizenship of the kids in these cases.

It is really unclear from where the AG’s Chambers’ are getting their instructions to object, as it runs contrary to the stance of the new government on stateless cases.

Through no fault of theirs, these children and their families were wronged and made to suffer by the unjust policies of the previous BN government for many long years.

The continued objection now of the AG’s Chambers in court increases the suffering and uncertainty of these kids and their parents.

This is the first big test for the new PH Government upon its policy on stateless persons.

On behalf of our clients, we urge this government to uphold their campaign promise by withdrawing all objections in court to the confirmation of citizenship for these 2 children.

Released by:
N SURENDRAN
LATHEEFA KOYA
(Lawyers for the cases of Lim Jen Hsian & another)
Lawyers for Liberty