WHAT HAS THE GOVERNMENT SAID
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told reporters on Nov 6 that the government has to incorporate the views of the Conference of Rulers on the planned constitutional amendments and that this would be explained to the backbenchers in parliament.
“We will inform them because this was presented to the Conference of Rulers. There is a limit on what we can do after discussions (with the rulers).
“Any constitutional amendment that affects the issue of citizenship has to be cleared with the Conference of Rulers. (The rulers) have taken a certain position and we will have to honour that,” he was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini.
Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail further reiterated the point about a week later that the Malaysian government would engage with both government and opposition backbenchers to explain the proposed amendments to the Constitution.
To be approved, any amendments to the Federal Constitution require a two-thirds majority support of members of parliament (MPs).
“We will engage all MPs to get their feedback. All of them because we want the best for this proposal,” Mr Saifuddin said during a press conference on Nov 14.
Ipoh Timor MP Howard Lee of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) earlier this month hinted that there was unhappiness over the proposed amendments among some MPs. DAP is a component party within the Pakatan Harapan coalition.
“Reading just the room consisting of just our own guys, sent clear signals that the proposed amendments if hit the floor without decoupling; there will be some who are compelled to break whip in order not to break conscience. Think about it,” he said in a post on X on Nov 4.
Mr Lee’s social media post came after Mr Saifuddin had on Nov 1 told parliament that there would still be legal avenues for the stateless to pursue their citizenship by way of registration under the Federal Constitution.
“Let me give an analogy, say a Rohingya refugee mother marries an illegal migrant from Indonesia and a child is born out of their undocumented parents, constitutionally the child is a citizen by operation of law.
“So, we agree to that recommendation, we say that the child needs to be registered by the Welfare Department first and a subsequent application for citizenship will be submitted by the department.
“There needs to be elements of investigation, checks, so by operation of law there is still room for them to register as citizens, this is what some of the NGOs are finding it hard to accept,” he was quoted as saying by Malay Mail.
Mr Saifuddin also told The Star last week that there were 150,000 cases of statelessness on his table and that he had approved 11,000 citizenship for the stateless in the past 11 months.
CNA has reached out to Mr Saifuddin and the Home Ministry for more comments on the issue.
Ultimately, Mr Wong – the Malaysian citizen who was formerly stateless – hopes the affected mothers with overseas-born children would get their wish via the two amendments in the Constitution without the other five proposed changes being passed.
He would also like to see reforms in the National Registration Department, which is responsible for processing citizenship applications.
“All I would like for them is to follow the Constitution and make it easier for the cycle of childhood statelessness to be broken,” said Mr Wong.
Source: Channel News Asia