Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation in unhappy there are many cases of Christians whose religion is mentioned as Islam in identity cards and birth certificates.
KOTA KINABALU: A human rights advocate said today that many Christians in Sabah were holding MyKads which listed them as Muslim.
Daniel John Jambun, who heads the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), said his organisation planned to help these people.
Jambun cited the latest example of Julitah Bahiau who is trying to get the National Registration Department (JPN) to change her son’s religion from Islam to Christian on the birth certificate.
She told local media that she had applied for her son Aryton Verlando’s birth certificate on time in 2010 but when she received the birth certificate it identified him as a Muslim.
When she queried, she was told it was because she had the word “Islam” on her MyKad.
“I explained that I am not a Muslim and produced my baptism certificate. JPN then directed me to get an order of release from Islam from the Sabah Islamic Affairs Department to enable them to delete the word Islam on my MyKad and subsequently do the correction on my son’s birth certificate,” she was quoted as saying by The Borneo Post.
“Now that my son is seven years old, I am unable to register my son at any school as he has no birth certificate. I have been pushed around by JPN and am fed up!” said Julitah.
Jambun said in an interview today that the boy needed a birth certificate to be in school.
Jambun said non-Muslims with the word “Islam” in their MyKads should not be told by the JPN to go through the Shariah Court to get the matter rectified.
“Julitah’s is not a case of a Muslim wishing to renounce Islam,” he said. “It’s a matter of a non-Muslim having the word ‘Islam’ in her MyKad.”
He said Orang Asal Christians in Sabah were routinely given “Islam” MyKads when their religious particulars were “not available”.
Besides religion, he said, many people in Sabah and Sarawak were also given the wrong “ethnic” classification.
He said the Dayak in Sabah and Dayak in Sarawak should have the “right ethnic classification” in their MyKads. “This means not listing them as lain lain (others),” said Jambun. “Why should we be listed as lain lain in our own homelands?”
“Sabah and Sarawak belong to us,” he added.