PUTRAJAYA: Two out of five cases of stateless children were resolved after the Home Ministry approved granting Malaysian citizenship to them under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution.
The children were given letters from the Attorney General's Chambers at the Federal Court today, to notify that their application for citizenship had been approved.
The two children were a 13-year-old girl who was born for a Malaysian father and a mother from Papua New Guinea, and a 18-year-old boy who was adopted by a Malaysian couple.
Ranee Sreedharan, counsel for the 13-year-old girl, told reporters outside the court that the government had withdrawn an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal which had ordered citizenship to be issued to the girl.
“So the decision of the Court Appeal stands. We have received a letter that citizenship has been approved under Article 15A,” she said.
Article 15A gives the government through the Home Ministry special power to register children under age 21, without citizenship.
Lawyer Latheefa Koya had appeared for two stateless children and one of them; the 18-year-old boy, also got his application under the provisions of Article 15A approved.
In the other case, she said the Home Ministry required more documents to support that the mother of the eight-year-old boy was no longer residing in Malaysia.
The boy was born to a Malaysian father and a Thai mother who were not legally married when he was born.
“The boy’s father had raised the child after the mother left when he was six-months-old.
“The Home Ministry has agreed to offer citizenship under Article 15A if we can present with the necessary documents,” she said.
For the remaining two cases, the Federal Court has set Nov 26 for the deputy public prosecutor to update the court on the status of a fresh application by the defendant for citizenship under Article 15A.
The application must be filed by next Monday.
Represented by lawyer Datuk Cyrus Das, the two cases involved two boys, aged 17 and 18, with unknown parents and who were separately adopted by two Malaysian couples.
The Federal Court’s nine-man bench today was led by Chief Justice Richard Malanjum while the government was represented by senior federal counsel Suzana Atan.
Previously, Malanjum had proposed forming a nine-member bench to hear constitutional cases and a seven-member panel for public interest cases.
In the past, only up to seven-member benches were constituted to hear cases in the Federal Court.