Landmark #18: Citizenship for Illegitimate Children
Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar, Lawyer
In Malaysia, a child born to an unmarried couple is considered illegitimate under the eyes of the law. In such cases, the citizenship status of the child is determined by the mother’s nationality. In extreme cases where the mother is foreign-born, has abandoned the child, and the child has lived his or her entire life in Malaysia, then the child is consigned into a legal limbo of statelessness. The implication of belonging to no country is the removal of access to education, healthcare and the right to move freely, among others. Lawyer Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh explains some of the legal issues pertaining to illegitimacy and statelessness with reference to our constitution, international law, as well as what the judiciary can do to remedy the situation.
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