Response to the Court of Appeals ruling on citizenship rights for mothers with overseas-born children

The ruling essentially says Malaysian mothers don’t have the same rights as Malaysian fathers. This is regressive and takes the country back to the Stone age, where women’s rights are concerned. 

It’s a dark day for justice in Malaysia. Denying women the same right as men to pass their citizenship to their kids is discrimination based on sex.

This judgment doesn’t just undermine women’s equal citizenship rights but has adverse consequences on their kid’s rights to education, healthcare, freedom of movement and inheritance.

If Malaysia wants to achieve gender equality and meet sustainable development goals, it must scrap away such laws that increase the vulnerability of family units.

This ruling increases statelessness of children who should rightfully be Malaysians. It’s not just a violation of CRC but can result in displacement, conflict, and marginalisation. We should be deeply ashamed of ourselves today.

My heart goes out to all Malaysian women who haven’t been able to unite as a family. I stand in solidarity with all of you—a big salute to Family Frontiers Malaysia and Bina for soldiering on.

Media statement by Charles Santiago in Klang on Friday, 5th August 2022