NRD’s illegitimate indicator for Muslim children against secrecy law, Federal Court told

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 7 — The National Registration Department’s (NRD) practice of indicating Muslim children’s illegitimate status in birth certificates is against a local law requiring such information to be confidential, the Federal Court was told today in the high-profile “bin Abdullah” case.

Lawyer K. Shanmuga, who represented a Johor Muslim couple, said the NRD should have removed the “Permohonan Seksyen 13” (Section 13 Application) entry in the birth certificate of his client’s child.

“The reason why we don’t want it there is it will cause stigma to the child,” he told the Federal Court when referring to the Permohonan Seksyen 13 phrase that immediately gives away a child’s illegitimate status.

While acknowledging that his clients had indeed made an application under Section 13 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act, Shanmuga said there was no legal requirement for the phrase to be included in the birth certificate when such information was already recorded in the NRD’s own register.

“It is in the register and Section 6 of the Act says the Registrar is secret and it is not open to the public,” he said. Read more

Why Muslim parents are fighting to name their illegitimate children after them

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 ― In a rare move, 41 parents recently tried to join a court case challenging the National Registration Department’s (NRD) policy of registering illegitimate Muslim children with the “bin Abdullah” or “binti Abdullah” patronym.

Lokman Hakim, the lawyer for the 41 parents (20 married couples and a single mother from Pahang), said he had asked his clients to go straight to the Federal Court, instead of wasting their time and money by going to the Perlis Shariah court for court orders in his clients’ favour that would not be complied with.

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Federal Court hearing for appeal against ‘bin Abdullah’ ruling

Source: The Malay Mail Online

On Sept 8, the Federal Court granted the NRD and two others leave to appeal against the appellate court’s decision that a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock can have the father’s surname instead of ‘Abdullah’. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 9 — The Federal Court has fixed Feb 7 next year to hear the appeal by the National Registration Department (NRD) and two others against a ruling that a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock can bear his or her father’s surname instead of “Abdullah”.

Federal Court deputy registrar Syahrin Jeli Bohari set the hearing date for the appeal when the matter came up before her for case management today.

Present at the proceeding were senior federal counsel Aida Nurdiana Che Kamarulzaman, representing the NRD, its director-general and the Government of Malaysia, while lawyer Haziq Othman appeared for the Johor Islamic Religious Council and lawyer Kiattilin Sommat, representing the parents and the child.

The parties in the case were also instructed to file their respective submissions two weeks before the hearing.

On Sept 8, the Federal Court granted the NRD and two others leave to appeal against the appellate court’s decision that a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock can have the father’s surname instead of “Abdullah”.

Three legal questions were posed for determination by the Federal Court.

On May 25, this year the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal brought by the couple and their child who filed a judicial review to compel the NRD director-general to replace the child’s surname “Abdullah” with the name of the child’s father in the birth certificate.

The Court of Appeal, in a written judgment released on July 25 this year, said the NRD director-general was not bound by the ‘fatwa’ or religious edict issued by the National Fatwa Committee to decide the surname of a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock.

In the judgment, the court said the director-general’s jurisdiction was a civil one and was confined to determining whether the child’s parents had fulfilled the requirements under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA), which covers all illegitimate children, Muslim and non-Muslim.

The court had held that a fatwa had no force of law and could not form the legal basis for the NRD director-general to decide on the surname of an illegitimate child under Section 13A (2) of the BDRA. — Bernama

41 parents fail to become parties in ‘bin Abdullah’ case

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Chief Justice Raus Sharif however allows them to become friends of the court in landmark case on whether Muslim children born out of wedlock can be given the surname of a person acknowledging himself as the father.

Picture of Raus Sharif

Picture drawn from Free Malaysia Today

PUTRAJAYA: Twenty couples and a single parent have failed to become parties in a Federal Court appeal that will decide whether a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock can take his or her father’s surname instead of “Abdullah”.

However, a five-court bench led by Chief Justice Raus Sharif allowed them to become amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist parties in the appeal which will be heard on Feb 7.

Raus said the appeal came by way of judicial review and it was not fair for the applicants to be made interveners.

“There are various steps to follow. If we allow it, it will be side-stepping the procedures,” he said.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, who appeared for the National Registration Department (NRD), its director-general and the government, was not invited to make his submission.

Lawyer Azahar Azizan Harun, who represented the applicants, later told reporters he would appear as a friend of the court.

Interveners appear as parties to the appeal and, as such, can make submissions as of right. Those with “friend of the court” status only have the privilege of addressing the court at the invitation of the bench.

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Adam’s story: How illegitimate Muslim children here carry ‘bin Abdullah’ stigma

Source: Malay Mail Online

Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Adam is now 14, but the NRD’s policy of having illegitimate Muslim children bear the ‘bin Abdullah’ patronym is hampering him from getting a MyKad. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — Adam* is like any other child in Malaysia, except the National Registration Department (NRD) wants him to ditch his father’s name and use “bin Abdullah”, a patronym that is virtually a badge of shame worn by illegitimate Muslim children.

Muslim parents Rahman* and Aisyah* married in Selangor and gave birth to Adam in the same state in 2004. Adam was issued a birth certificate and a MyKid that carried Rahman’s name with no questions asked by the NRD then.

Prepared to see their newborn child registered with “bin Abdullah” as he was born less than six months into their marriage, they were surprised and thought the department made an exception by accepting Rahman as the father’s name. Read more

Birth registration law applies to all regardless of faith, lawyer says amid ‘bin Abdullah’ debate

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA) that allows an illegitimate child to bear the father’s name applies to all Malaysian citizens including Muslims, a lawyer Ahmad Munawir Abdul Aziz said today.

Ahmad Munawir, who practises both civil and Shariah law, pointed out that other legislations, like the Adoption Act 1952 and the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, specifically state that they do not apply to Muslims.

“The Births and Deaths Registration Act doesn’t state, which means it applies to Muslims; it applies to all Malaysian citizens,” Ahmad Munawir told a forum organised by Muslim women’s group Sisters in Islam here titled “Illegitimate children: Bin Abdullah — Between stigma, rights and religion”. Read more

Apex court to decide if out-of-wedlock kids can use father’s surname

Source: FMT News

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court will decide whether the National Registration Department (NRD) can exclude Muslim children who were born out of wedlock from bearing their father’s surname instead of “Abdullah”.

This follows the decision of a three-man bench led by Chief Justice Raus Sharif today to allow leave to appeal the application by Putrajaya.

Lawyer K Shanmuga, who is appearing for a Muslim couple and their son, had objected to the leave application, saying Section 13 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA) applies to all illegitimate children, irrespective of race or religion.

However, Raus who sat with justices Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and Aziah Ali, said the apex court would decide on the matter.

The three questions to be answered by the bench during the appeal are: Read more

Federal Court grants stay on ‘bin Abdullah’ ruling

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 21 — The Federal Court today stayed a lower court’s ruling that allowed a Muslim child conceived outside marriage to take his father’s name instead of a ‘bin Abdullah’ patronym, pending the Johor religious authority’s bid to intervene in the case.

Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, who chaired a three-judge panel, set September 8 for hearing of the Johor Islamic Religious Council’s application for leave to intervene, but struck out an intervener application by the Kuala Lumpur Islamic Religious Council.

“This is a judicial review. If I allow for KL (Islamic Council) to intervene, other councils will want to intervene as well,” he said.

MAIJ’s application was allowed after its lawyer, Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah, convinced the apex court that the case was first filed in Johor and thus the state and its laws were related. Read more

Court dismisses NRD’s application to stay ‘bin Abdullah’ ruling

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Judgment says the NRD director-general had overstepped his powers in relying on a 1981 fatwa. Pic drawn from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — The Court of Appeal threw out today the National Registration Department’s (NRD) application to stay the court’s ruling that granted a Muslim father the right to replace his illegitimate child’s “bin Abdullah” patronym with his own name.

The father’s lawyer, K. Shanmuga, said, however, that his client did not intend to enforce the appellate court’s ruling pending the Federal Court hearing of the NRD’s application for leave to appeal the decision.

“We are going to wait and see what the Federal Court says,” Shanmuga told Malay Mail Online.

When asked if the NRD should, in any other cases, follow the court ruling that allowed Muslim fathers to give their names to their children conceived outside marriage, the lawyer said it should. Read more