Calling it a “national crisis”, he said the denial of citizenship to these children whose fathers were Malaysian citizens was a violation of the Federal Constitution.
He also urged Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the government to take urgent steps to address the situation.
Surendran said he had asked Zahid in the Dewan Rakyat to disclose the number of children in Malaysia whose father was a citizen and whose mother was a foreigner, and who had been denied citizenship on grounds that the parents’ marriage was not registered.
“Zahid said that based on records of the NRD (National Registration Department) as of Feb 25, 2018, there were 12,667 children denied citizenship on grounds that their parents’ marriage was not registered.
“This figure of 12,667 is based on NRD records only. The real figure is bound to be much higher.”
In a statement, Surendran said these children had been condemned to be stateless merely because of an administrative matter – the failure to register the marriage.
He said by virtue of the 2nd Schedule, Part II, Section 1(a) of the Federal Constitution, every person born in Malaysia with at least one Malaysian parent became a citizen by operation of law.
“Thus, the denial of citizenship to the 12,667 children on grounds of non-registration of marriage is in clear breach of the 2nd Schedule of the Federal Constitution. It also violates the affected children’s right to life under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution.
“The home minister and the government have no authority to act in breach of the constitution, and must take urgent steps to remedy this situation. The existence of such a large number of stateless children born of a Malaysian parent amounts to a national crisis.”
Saying the lives and future of these children must be restored to them, Surendran added: “They were born in this country to a Malaysian parent, and have lived in this country all their lives. They cannot go to any other country.”