PM: Govt working to ensure citizenship rights of children born abroad secured [NSTTV]

BERLIN: The government will this month table an amendment to Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution in Parliament, to ensure children born to Malaysians abroad are granted citizenship rights.

Announcing this today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the amendment would bring an end to citizenship woes experienced by those born overseas.

Speaking at a breaking of fast event with the Malaysian diaspora here today, Anwar said the cabinet has agreed to table an amendment to Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution, which governs the citizenship rights of parents born overseas.

Anwar was answering a question from a Malaysian woman, whom during the engagement session, had voiced her dismay that her two children could not obtain Malaysian citizenship.

Anwar replied that the issue was being addressed.

"Please follow (the) developments back home...your question has been overtaken by events.

"The cabinet has agreed to bring this matter to Parliament this month.

"We know that at the moment, parent is defined as father. We will amend it so that parent will mean father and mother," he said, to loud applause from the 300-strong crowd.

The prime minister also fielded a question from Global Bersih secretary-general Nirmala Devi Windgaetter, who had asked if the government will be simplifying the voting process during general elections for Malaysians living abroad.

She had cited the experiences faced by Malaysians abroad during the 13th and 14th general elections, in which many had faced difficulty in casting their votes while abroad.

Anwar, in reply, said he has already instructed the Election Commission to study the matter.

He acknowledged that there was a need to simplify the voting process and suggested that government agency offices abroad be used as venues for voting centres.

"For example, agencies like MIDA (Malaysian Investment Development Authority) and Matrade (Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation) have offices abroad which can be used as voting centres," he said.

He said the matter should be even easier to resolve soon given that automatic voter registration has been implemented in Malaysia and could in the future be implemented abroad for Malaysians.

The prime minister is in Germany for a six-day official visit to Berlin and Hamburg.

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