Under the Federal Constitution, a person is a citizen by operation of law provided that one of his/her parents at the time of birth is a Malaysian or a permanent resident, or he/she was born in Malaysia and is not born a citizen of any country.
However, the NRD’s practice in arbitrarily determining the nationality of individuals by registering them as “non-citizen” (bukan warganegara) or ”undetermined” (belum ditentukan) on their Birth Certificate has resulted in many stateless individuals in Malaysia. Examples of those who would be stateless are foundlings who were abandoned by their birth parents, children whose biological mother is a foreigner, children who were born before the registration of the parents’ marriage and individuals who inherit the status of statelessness from their stateless parents
We have extensive experience in representing and providing legal advice to aggrieved parents and stateless individuals regarding their rights and remedies in challenging the NRD’s refusal to register the individuals as Malaysian.
We advise and provide legal representation to:
- parents who seek a declaration of citizenship for their adopted child who has been registered as a “non-citizen” (bukan warganegara) or “undetermined” (belum ditentukan) on their birth certificate by the National Registration Department;
- parents who seek a declaration of legitimacy and citizenship for their child who was born prior to the registration of their marriage;
- individuals who were registered as “non-citizen” (bukan warganegara) or “undetermined” (belum ditentukan) notwithstanding they were born in Malaysia; and
- individuals who were born outside of Malaysia and were registered as “non-citizen” notwithstanding one of their parents is a Malaysian.
- Successfully obtained declarations in 3 separate cases in the High Court that the children born in Malaysia and were lawfully adopted by Malaysian citizens are Malaysian citizens; and obtained orders of mandamus directing the NRD to register the children as citizens of Malaysia.
- Represented adopted children in multiple judicial reviews against the National Registration Department’s decision to refuse citizenship to the adopted children.
- Represented the adopted children in an application for reference of constitutional questions to the Federal Court on a declaration of citizenship.
- Represented individuals who were born outside of Malaysia in seeking a declaration of citizenship notwithstanding one of their parents is a Malaysian.
- Represented illegitimate children in seeking declaration of legitimacy and citizenship pursuant to the subsequent marriage of their parents.
- Providing legal advice to the New Zealand Immigration and United Kingdom Visa and Immigration Department on the Malaysian adoption and citizenship process and the effect of statelessness in Malaysia, in support of the application for foreign citizenship of the children adopted in Malaysia.
Reviews & Testimonials
- “My family members are very grateful to your legal firm, MahWengKwai & Associates, especially Ms Jasmine for her professionalism in handling all the legal matters pertaining to our adopted child who was stateless. Your legal firm assisted in the adoption application and our child successfully obtained her Birth Certificate in September 2017.
As for the citizenship application, we also went through the application for judicial review in the High Court. Your firm is very professional and efficient in handling all the court matters and with the correspondence with the Ministry of Home Affairs. Our child eventually was registered by the Ministry of Home Affairs as a Malaysian citizen in November 2019, taking only 28 months for the entire process. Now our daughter has an Identity Card issued by the JPN.
Once again, we express our utmost appreciation and thanks to you, Miss Jasmine and your hard work in representing us in this matter. We would STRONGLY recommend MahWengKwai & Associates to anyone to engage their excellent services.” – Mr & Mrs Tan Seong Lye, Bukit Mertajam, Penang
- “We were introduced to MahWengKwai & Associates by Dato’ Cyrus Das, whom I’d contacted regarding the case of a stateless child who is very dear to my heart, after reading a newspaper article on a similar case. Prior to this we had applied for the child’s citizenship directly with JPN and the Home Ministry 4 times in 9 years, being disappointed each time it was rejected, hence our decision to take it to court.
We met with Ms Jasmine Wong of MWKA on our first visit to their office, and were immediately drawn to her professionalism and willingness to listen and were put at ease by her friendly and caring nature. She clearly explained the procedures that would be required to take the case to court, the time frame and also the approximate cost of the entire proceedings. We, therefore, had no hesitation whatsoever in engaging the services of MWKA immediately to handle the case of the said stateless child.
Throughout the entire process, which took about 10 months, we were always kept informed and updated on all court proceedings and outcomes. Ms Jasmine Wong was very willing, patient and helpful in answering all my questions pertaining to certain matters and also the legal jargon used in some of the documents too.
The above case was settled on 29 October 2019, with the said child, now aged 9, finally being granted her Malaysian citizenship by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
We are all deeply indebted and cannot thank Ms Jasmine Wong and Messrs MWKA enough, for their hard work and willingness to represent us in this matter.” – Sunita Thomas, Kuala Lumpur
- “We would like to express our utmost gratitude and appreciation to MahWengKwai & Associates especially Ms. Jasmine Wong who we cannot thank you enough for helping to obtain our daughter’s citizenship. We would recommend MahWengKwai & Associates to anyone to engage their excellent services. Thank you.” – Mr & Mrs Hew, Kuala Lumpur
- “We are deeply appreciative and happy with the services provided by your team of competent, responsible and reliable staff, particularly Raymond Mah and Jasmine Wong. We will not hesitate to recommend your excellent services to others.” – Mr & Mrs C, Selangor
- “We have been using the services of MWKA for a number of years and have found them to be professional, competent and efficient.
We would like to express our gratitude to the team of MWKA, particularly to Mr Raymond Mah, Ms Liow Pei Xia and Ms Jasmine Wong for their dedication, support and empathy. We truly appreciate their good legal knowledge, vast experience and excellent analytical skills. Most importantly, they always have their clients’ interest at heart. They help plan and strategize on how best to move forward in achieving a positive outcome.
We would not hesitate to describe MWKA as a professional, top quality and trustworthy legal firm. We would highly recommend MWKA to others who wish to engage their professional services.” – P & Y, Petaling Jaya
- “I have been using the services of MWKA for a few years and have found them to be very professional and full of empathy. Especially with the likes of Raymond Mah, Prisilla Chong & Eric Toh. They will go the extra mile to ensure that they have all sides of the story, know what needs to be done and strategize with you on how best to move forward. I have recommended their services to friends and will not hesitate to engage them for any future requirements” – Looi Kok Peng, Kuala Lumpur