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2g5: Gender


Preamble

This policy area focuses on two key communities, namely the LGBTIQ+ and

Malaysian mothers with overseas-born children. It highlights the need for better

treatment to be accorded to these groups, by pointing out the gaps in current

policies and proposing legal reforms to prevent and eliminate discrimination

toward to them.


I: Equal Treatment for LGBTIQ+ community


The LGBTIQ+ community in Malaysia face many unique legal and social

challenges that are not experienced by other minority groups due to the

politicisation of their lives and very existence. Most of the discrimination against

them stems from certain individuals and groups in power, whose rhetoric toward

the LGBTIQ+ community has encouraged the rise of an anti-LGBTIQ+

movement among religious conservatives and the political right. The Federal

Government endorses and funds rehabilitation camps for conversion therapy,

and some state legislators have even initiated laws that criminalise the

LGBTIQ+. As a result of such pressure and actions against them, many

LGBTIQ+ persons lack access to healthcare, the justice system and even

education.

1. Stop all prosecution and initiatives to prosecute LGBTIQ+ persons

based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

(Arabelle Yong, L-INC Foundation, Proposal 2G5-1)

2. Place a moratorium on laws that criminalise the LGBTIQ+ community.

This will ensure their access to healthcare, justice, and assure them of their

personal security and safety, as well as freedom from violence.

3. End all discriminatory speech toward LGBTIQ+ persons.

4. Engage SUHAKAM and LGBTIQ+ human rights groups to address the

systemic impact of criminalisation and pathologisation of LGBTIQ+

persons.

(Arabelle Yong, L-INC Foundation, Proposal 2G5-1)


II: Citizenship rights of Malaysian women


Until the 9 September 2021 court ruling stating otherwise, Malaysian women in

binational marriages did not have the same right as their male counterparts to

confer citizenship on their overseas-born children by operation of law. Hitherto,

women were limited by Article 15(2) and its related Second Schedule, which

states that citizenship of a person born outside of Malaysia is upon application if

their mother is a citizen, whereas Article 14(1)(b) allows such citizenship by

operation of law if their father is a citizen.

It also did not help that the application process via Article 15(2) was fraught with

delays—ranging between 2 and 10 years merely to receive a response, repeated

rejections without reasons and no guarantee of approval. Malaysian women in

such circumstances faced a myriad of challenges, including inconsistent

bureaucratic requirements during the application process, vulnerability to gender-

based violence and compromised autonomy in the public, private and civic

spheres.

Although the recent court ruling appears to have put a stop to this injustice

perpetrated on Malaysian women, the Government is appealing the decision, and

nothing has changed yet in the Federal Constitution.

5. Amend Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution to ensure Malaysian

women can confer citizenship by operation of law on an equal basis as

Malaysian men on their children born overseas.

Align it in accordance with Article 8(2), which prohibits discrimination on the

basis of gender.

(Melinda Anne Sharlini, Family Frontiers, Proposal 2G5-2)

6. Develop a clear and accessible standard operating procedure (SOP) to

enhance reliability and transparency in the processing of citizenship and

visa applications for non-citizen children of Malaysians.

The SOP must be made available on the Department of Immigration and

National Registration Department’s website. It should include a reasonable

timeframe until a decision can be expected and detailed procedures to appeal a

decision.

7. Allocate resources necessary to process the backlog of citizenship

applications within a reasonable amount of time.

8. Allow the submission of citizenship applications at Malaysian missions

overseas.

This includes those applying for their children over the age of one year old.

Concluding Remarks

Gender equality has long been a critical issue in Malaysia. Although Malaysia

ratified CEDAW and UNCRC in 1995, even after 26 years, little progress has

been made to localise the Conventions with regard to LGBTIQ+ and citizenship

rights issues for women. The gap between the promise made by the Government

via the conventions and the lived realities of the Rakyat must be narrowed

immediately.

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