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  • Sharmini Thiruchelvam

No child should be denied citizenship due to illegitimacy, says Zuraida

PETALING JAYA: The "archaic" Section 17 of the Federal Constitution should be repealed or amended and no child should be deprived of the fundamental right of citizenship on grounds of illegitimacy, says Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin (pic).

The Housing and Local Government Minister raised concerns over the Federal Court's majority decision to deny Malaysian citizenship to an illegitimate child and has vowed to raise the issue in proper channels to ensure the child obtains citizenship.

On Friday (May 28), the Federal Court denied a 10-year-old boy citizenship because he was born months before his biological father, a Malaysian, married his Filipino mother.

In a statement Sunday (May 30), Zuraida said the outcome of the case "strongly offends our sense of justice and compassion."

"While we respect judgments made by the judicial arm in pursuance of their constitutional function, I am bound to disagree with this one," she said.

She added that she would raise the matter with the minister concerned or with Cabinet to ensure that the child obtains citizenship by registration under Article 15(2).

"It is time to put an end to the damage wrought upon the innocent by the effect of the archaic Section 17 of the Federal Constitution, which the majority judgment heavily relied upon.

"To that end, I am committed to the repeal or amendment of that section, and will raise this in government," she said.

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