In a ruling on 28 May 2021, the Federal Court decided by majority that an illegitimate child born to a Malaysian father and a Filipino mother was not entitled to Malaysian citizenship. AmerBON hosted an online chat to consider the merits of the case.
What were the arguments made? How did the court arrive at such a conclusion? What is the way ahead for children born out of wedlock?
During our chat, we discussed:
- the reasoning of the judges in the majority and minority respectively
- what could have changed the outcome of the case
- the effect of this decision on children in similar situations
- whether sections 3 and 4 of the Legitimacy Act 1961 can be harmoniously read with the Federal Constitution, in particular, section 1(b) of Part II in the Second Schedule and Article 14(1)(b)
- whether the issue of dual citizenship would arise if the child were to acquire Malaysian citizenship, given that the child has Philippine citizenship
- what needs to be amended in the Federal Constitution to ensure children born out of wedlock are not deprived of Malaysian citizenship