PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today upheld a High Court ruling that a girl, now 15, born to a Malaysian father and Filipino mother is a Malaysian citizen.
Judge M Gunalan said the trial judge had interpreted the law correctly and appreciated the facts before her in coming to the decision.
“We do not agree with the respondents (government) that the judge had erroneously construed the Articles of the Federal Constitution and Second Schedule before arriving at her decision.
“We are inclined to conclude there are no merits in this appeal,” said Gunalan who read the brief judgment of the three-member panel which dismissed the government’s appeal.
However, the bench, which also comprised Kamaludin Md Said and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, did not order costs against the government as it is a public interest matter.
Today’s ruling also means that the High Court’s order that the girl be issued with a citizenship certificate and identification card has to be complied with.
On May 2, 2019, High Court judge Faizah Jamaludin allowed a judicial review application and ordered the National Registration Department to issue her the required documents.
Faizah said the girl is a Malaysian citizen by operation of law under Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution.
Her parents, who reside in Sungai Siput, Perak, had registered their marriage two years after her birth.
“Her parents registered their marriage on Jan 31, 2008, and from there, she is no longer seen as illegitimate,” Faizah had ruled.
The teenager applied for a MyKad three times but was rejected each time.
She filed a judicial review through her father, Lew Yee Hong, in October 2016 to challenge the government’s decision to reject her applications, seeking a court order to compel the government to issue her a MyKad.
The government took the position that a citizenship application cannot be reviewed in court.
It said the home minister had been given power under the Federal Constitution to allow or disallow citizenship applications.