AG & Home Ministry must end discriminatory practices against Malaysian mothers overseas: MP Kasthuri

Media statement by Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan and International Secretary for Wanita DAP Kasthuri Patto on Tuesday 14th September 2021 in Parliament Malaysia:

Discriminatory practices in appealing the court decision to grant citizenship to children born to Malaysian mothers overseas propagated by the Attorney General and the Home Ministry must end in the spirit of upholding Article 8 on equality in the Federal Constitution.

“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity” – George Orwell

I wish to remind the Attorney General as the principal legal advisor of the Government and that apart from being a solicitor for the Government of the day, his responsibility is also to uphold the rule of law, defend justice and honour the spirit of the Federal Constitution.

What is the reason for the Attorney General to appeal against the court decision to confer citizenship to children of Malaysian mothers born overseas? What is the message that the Attorney General is aiming to send out?

When fathers have that right to confer a Malaysian citizenship to their children born overseas, why are mothers denied this right?

Article 8(1) of the Federal Constitution clearly spells out that “All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.”

Does this also not include women and children to be entitled equal protection of the law?

Let the Attorney General also be reminded that Malaysia is a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women).

The decision to appeal against the decision to confer citizenship to children born to Malaysian mothers overseas is a shameful impression on Malaysia’s effort in seeking a seat at the United Nations Human Rights Council is akin to missing the forest for the trees.

How can we project Malaysia as a beacon of human rights when we condone these human rights abuses in our own backyard?

Before we shake our heads in dismay and disgust of women’s rights violations in countries like Afghanistan, Qatar and even in India, we should address the elephant in the room on violations infringing the rights of women and children, and unless we make courageous decisions armed with political will to reverse that, Malaysia may make it to the list of the worst countries for women.

How can we expect to be taken seriously as bearers of the torch on gender equality when Malaysian mothers are crying for years on the injustice that they and their children face?

The Government and the Attorney General must put our house in order first before even dreaming of being guardians of gender equality and champions on the rights of children when the contrary is done by appealing against the decision of conferring citizenship for children born to Malaysian mothers overseas.

Withdraw the appeal.

“I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means—except by getting off his back” – Leo Tolstoy

Kasthuri Patto
Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan
International Secretary for Wanita DAP

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