A child is no threat to national security, MP tells deputy minister

A child is no threat to national security, MP tells deputy minister
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 -- Children cannot be a threat to national security, said Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh today.

She was responding to the government's stand against equal rights for Malaysian women to confer nationality on their children.

Yeoh said the policy, which affects children born abroad to a Malaysian mother and a foreign father, is archaic and discriminatory.

''Let me remind the Home Ministry that what is of a greater threat to national security is corruption within their enforcement system as seen in the recent arrest of immigration and police officers.

''Innocent children cannot and will not be a danger to our nation,'' said the former deputy minister of women, family, and community development.

Deputy Home Minister Ismail Mohamed Said, in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, said that there are national security concerns that arise from the issue of dual-citizenship among children born abroad to Malaysian women with foreign husbands.

Ismail claimed this was because most countries have a similar policy where a child born abroad will follow the nationality of their father, and so the government must be ''diligent'' to avoid the issue of dual-citizenship.

Yeoh said the discriminatory policy further reduces options for Malaysian women seeking divorces, protection, or relief as it assumes the presence of the father figure in a family setting. 

''The reality is not like that for many Malaysian women. 

''Those who have to leave their (marriage) union are often stuck between a rock and a hard place because their children do not have citizenship in their homeland,'' she stressed.

''Citizenship should be granted to every child whose parent or adopted parent is Malaysian, regardless of the marital status of the parent and the gender of the Malaysian parent or the place of birth of the child; including foundling children,'' she said.

In the current environment of Covid-19 movement restrictions, Yeoh said there is a greater urgency to reform the law, with limited travel options for an expecting mother to return and give birth in Malaysia.

She previously said there were an estimated 40,000 pending applications from Malaysian women seeking citizenship for their children.