Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No Malaysian citizenship for my children

I expected this, but still had that tiny little hope that Malaysia has changed it's constitution about the citizenship for children born overseas.

I sent an email to the Embassy of Paris a while back and got the reply:
2. The Embassy wish to inform you that according the Malaysian Constitution, a child born in Malaysia is Malaysian if one of the parents is Malaysian. However, the citizenship of the child that born overseas is being determined by the citizenship of the father.

3. In this regard, it is advisable for you to give birth in Malaysia if you wish to obtain an automatic Malaysian citizen for the new born child.

So, my child wouldn't be a Malaysian because I'm a Malaysian female. If I was a man, she could have qualified.

France recognizes double citizenship so it would be nice that my daughter could have the Malaysian citizenship. Who knows in the future, we would move back there for several years, then she can enroll in the public school. Besides, Asian countries might form some Economic zone like the European Union, with this citizenship she would have the choice to work in Asian and venture into Asian cultures.

France is a lot lenient on this. According to hubby, children born to a French would be French no matter what. I don't know why Malaysia practices strict rules like this. If you follow the recent news, even people born in Malaysia (mostly before independence) and have been living in Malaysia their whole life have difficulties getting their citizenship. Some of the reasons being they do not speak Malays, they have lost their birth certificate, or their parents were not married.

I hope it won't take long for Malaysia to grant citizenship to those who are born in Malaysia and to children born overseas, without discriminating its own female citizens.


  1. Laws of the land are weird, aren't they? And frequently anti-female. But, I suspect, you figured that out already, n'est-ce pas?

  2. You are not alone. I have 2 sons and nor they will be officially "Malaysians". It's sad but it's our country's great lost. Perhaps Malaysia is not realising that many of its citizens living abroad have our motherland close to their hearts. Obviously, those governing our country don't feel the same. Out of sight, out of mind. Already it's losing many of its people to greener pastures abroad, or simply because love tends to lead us across the oceans. Malaysia needs to change its old ways FAST and evolve with the current globe-trotting trends of its people... before its too late. Malaysia's strict mono-citizenship ruling will one day cause a surge in citizenship renouncement as its people chooses to vow allegiance to another nation simply because they are put in an uncomfortable position to choose between their country over their new inter-national family.

  3. La Framericaine,

    I did know it but accepting it is difficult, especially I'm qualified to apply for French citizenship now. How come France can easily give away their citizenship and the children of a Malaysian can't even get the same nationality as the mother.


    I agreed with you. Malaysia is having a program encouraging Malaysians living overseas to go back and contribute. However, if these Malaysians' children do not have the nationality, most likely they won't want to move back, or maybe they just want male Malaysians back?

  4. Bee,
    This really sucks! When you give birth in Malaysia, they also try to make it as difficult as possible for the baby to get registered in another country's embassy. When Lucas was born, we had to take the day off to go to Putrajaya just to get an official stamp needed before we can translate the birth cert and wedding cert. My friend is married to an Italian and has 2 children, they are Malaysian citizens but have not obtained their Italian citizenship due to the paperwork! She applied for her children after me and said she has been facing one obstacle after another, and so far has been to Putrajaya 4 times.

    FYI, the discrimination against women also applies to PR application for foreign husbands!

  5. That really sucks. I was seriously considering about giving birth in Malaysia, when the time comes..

  6. i dunno, i would think a french citizenship is sufficient. it's not that bad in france, is it?

  7. Bee, Singapore used to have the same law as Malaysia but lucky for me, the year my daughter was born, they changed the law and allow female citizenship pass their citizenship to their children but my daughter will have to choose which citizenship she wants later in life as Singapore only allows single citizenship. I hope by the time comes, they will allow dual like France - a lot easier for me and my daughter.

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  9. as a malaysian woman abroad, i feel so sad about this. giving birth at home is not easy because airline policy do not take you near to delivery date. how can it be possible to take such a long leave from work.

  10. Hi,
    Your blog is very nice, and i enjoy to read it :)
    I understand your frustration :)
    I'm like you, but opposite, i'm french, my wife is Malaysian (chinese), and we live in Penang.
    I can be really often frustrated by the Malaysian laws :p
    Even my wife is, sometimes, but she was born here...
    I wish you all the best in France.


  11. Hi I am Firoj Kabir from bangladesh.
    My wife was 5 weeks pregnant. If my baby born in malaysia can my baby got any fesalaty or citizen in malaysia? I will go to malaysia for working visa. Please tell me & help me. I am very helpless.
    My E mail