Press Statement

Home Ministry & AGC must drop objections to citizenship for stateless children in the Federal Court

12 February 2019

We refer to the final hearing at the Federal Court of the appeals of 3 stateless children for grant of citizenship which is to be heard on 14 February 2019.

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 AG’s chambers 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 PH was in opposition, it was vocal in championing victims of denial of citizenship by the BN.  Promises were made repeatedly that PH 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 PH 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.

Released by:

N Surendran

Latheefa Koya

Lawyers for Liberty