Crime & Courts

High Court denies citizenship to brothers despite Malaysian father [NSTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: Two brothers remain stateless after the High Court here denied them citizenship, despite their biological father being a Malaysian citizen.

Judge Datuk Amarjeet Singh heard the duo's application for citizenship status under Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution in January this year.

The plaintiffs, aged 25 and 22 respectively, were born out of wedlock to a Malaysian father and a mother who is a Thai national.

The biological mother left the children in 2005 and the father claims that she is uncontactable.

The plaintiffs made three applications under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution (FC) for citizenship by registration in 2011, 2013, and 2017 but were rejected by the government.

Amarjeet in his judgment said the Federal Court held that Section 17 of Part III of the FC was clear and unambiguous that the reference to parent or "father" in relation to an illegitimate child is to be construed as "mother".

"Therefore, an illegitimate child's citizenship follows the citizenship of his mother.

"If the person is born out of wedlock, and thus illegitimate at the time of his birth, the word 'parents', according to Section 17 of Part III is to be constructed as mother.

"In the instant case, the biological father and the biological mother were never married.

"Both plaintiffs were in the circumstances illegitimate and therefore their citizenship followed that of their mothers," he said.

Amarjeet said the plaintiffs being illegitimate born to a non-citizen mother, whose nationality is known, could not be said to be one "who is not born a citizen of any country".

He said the affidavits and evidence revealed that the biological parents of the plaintiffs were known.

He said the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that, despite providing information of their biological mother – including evidence of birth to a citizen of Thailand and the mother's passport details – they did not acquire Thai citizenship.

"In other words, the child is not 'stateless' at the time of his birth.

"They were citizens of Thailand as being born to a citizen of Thailand.

"Statelessness will not be established to a reasonable degree where the determination authority is able to point to clear evidence that the individual is a national of an identified state," he added.

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